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, July 26, 2019

A Peek in Jan's Book Bag!

Nearly every year for the past decade or two, I have written a column about what books various family members take on vacation.  Because that’s what our family does:  we go on vacation but we each bring a pile of books to read, depending on our interests.  When our daughter joins us she brings books about natural history, the flora and fauna of the area we’re visiting.  My husband reads history.  I read whatever.

My book bag is now a Kindle, which means I have a whole personal library at my fingertips. 

I love it!

Here’s a peek in my current book bag, if I had a book bag.

First, a friend suggested I should read “Chronicles of a Radical Hag (With Recipes)” by Lorna Landvik.  Some reviewers mention the political commentary in the book as problematic, but I’ve read  a few pages and haven’t reached anything that makes my conservative blood boil.  This book tells about the life of a small town newspaper columnist as shown in 50 years of two to three columns per week.

A family member has been touched by cancer, so I downloaded “Beating Melanoma,” by Steven Q.Wang, published by Johns Hopkins Press. This is a very down-to earth, practical guide, readable and also available in a print edition through MnLink.

I need a spiritual pick-me-up, so I chose to read   “Putting Joy into Practice: Seven Ways to lift your Spirit from the Early Church.”   I’m just at the beginning, so the jury is still out on this one.

I read the Book of the Ancestor series by Mark Lawrence, “Red Sister,” “Grey Sister,” and “Holy Sister.”  This fantasy series was an easy, quick read, and I enjoyed it and its setting in an order of militant nuns.

I’ve been re-reading the Amish Country mysteries by P.L.Gaus, a series I enjoy because Mr. Gaus creates his world and captures his characters so deftly. Books such as “The Names of our Tears” and “The Whiskers of the Lion” are simply a pleasure.

 Since I also love Mercedes Lackey, I’ve been catching up in some of her titles I’ve missed, including “From a High Tower.” It’s interesting to see what happens when an Elemental Air Master reminiscent of Rapunzel joins Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show.  

If you can suspend your disbelief, this is a  fun read.

Because the library book club read this book, I started “A Gentleman in Moscow,” by Amor Towles.  This is a witty book about a gentleman who lives under house arrest in extreme comfort in a grand hotel.  If I had to be under house arrest, that’s the place for me.

If my theory that you can learn a lot about a person by what they read is correct, what conclusion can you form about me?  I would say that I’m curious about everything, read a variety books, and am very thankful for our freedom to read.  See you at the library!

Monday, July 22, 2019

One Giant Leap for Mankind

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

On July 20th, 1969, humans first set foot on the moon.  On this 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, we celebrate the giant leap that Neil Armstrong helped to make with his one small step. 

Do you remember watching the moon landing on television?  I wasn’t born yet, so I should watch the library’s new DVD, Apollo 11.  It’s a documentary put together from a newly-discovered batch of 65mm raw footage and 11,000 hours of previously uncataloged audio recordings.  Whether you were glued to the live event back in 1969 or you want to see how amazing that occasion really was, this movie can help you find new wonder in this pivotal moment in history.

For a dramatized version of those events, pick up First Man, an award-winning biopic of Neil Armstrong.  Ryan Gosling plays the legendary astronaut in this movie based on the book of the same name by James R. Hansen, which the Litchfield library also has.  The movie and book show the victories and the tragedies of Armstrong’s life.

Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon is a recent book about one step in the Apollo program.  Author Robert Kurson shares the stories of astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders and their families as NASA raced to beat the Soviets to the moon without taking the time to be careful and methodical.  Litchfield Library has this book on audio, but it’s available to order in print from other libraries.

Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon is another take on that step of the space race.  Author Jeffrey Kluger co-wrote the book that the movie Apollo 13 was based on.  In Apollo 8, readers learn about the context of this risky but ultimately inspiring launch: three American astronauts burned to death in a spacecraft the year before, the Cold War intensifying, and a year filled with assassinations and war. 

Hidden Figures is both an award-winning movie and a popular nonfiction book about a group of gifted black female mathematicians who calculated trajectories and other essential numbers for planning space flight.  The book by Margot Lee Shetterly tells the story of four women in the West Computing group at Langley, who helped America get to space over the course of three decades of their careers; naturally it goes into more detail than the movie can. 

If you’re looking to share information about the moon landing with your children, pick up Moon Landings by Shoshana A. Weider or Apollo 11 Launches a New Era by Thomas K. Adamson, two recent nonfiction books in the Litchfield library collection.  The first is an easy reader about the Apollo missions to the moon.  The second is a part of the “Events That Changed America” series; it focuses on the Apollo 11 mission with a timeline and reflection on the significance of the moon landing.

If thinking about the moon landing has got you thinking about the night sky, check out the National Geographic Pocket Guide to the Night Sky of North America by Catherine Herbert Howell.  This manual is a short handbook on viewing the stars, the moon, the planets, comets, meteors, and asteroids, complete with charts.

There’s a plaque on the moon to commemorate that landing 50 years ago.  It says, among other things, “We came in peace for all mankind.”  May that landing inspire us still today. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Sun, Sun, Summertime!

  By Jan Pease

What do you like best about summer?  Do you enjoy the community festivals?  Do you go camping or visit state and national parks?  Do you enjoy tossing in a line to catch some supper?  Do you enjoy the lack of snow?

One of the things I enjoy the most is the summer sunlight.  It is warm and golden and sunrises and sunsets glow.  To be truthful, I mostly see the sunsets.  One of the new books added to the Litchfield children’s collection is “You are Light,” by Aaron Becker.  Mr. Becker used die-cut circles with plastic inserts to design an incredible book that shows how light changes throughout the day.  This book, like a sunset, glows. 

“An ABC of Flowers,” by Jutta Hilpuesch is another book that has been designed in an interesting way.  Gorgeous photos of flowers illustrate each letter, from A, Aster, to Z, Zinnia.  Amelie, a tiny girl dwarfed by the flowers, does something interesting on each page.  

Megan Brewis, originally from South Africa, has designed an interesting look at underwater ocean life in the book, “Steve, Terror of the Seas.”  Late in the book, we realize that Steve is a pilot fish and that everyone in the ocean is actually afraid of his large friend, George.  George is a shark.  Enough said.

Our teen book and movie reviewers have been busy.  They have turned in reviews of two books and a
movie.  One of the books, “The Flute Player,” is an older book, written and illustrated by Michael Lapaca, of Apache, Tewa and Hopi descent. Here is the review:

“The Flute Player” is about a boy who lives in a village near the Grand Canyon.  The boy meets a girl. Later the boy plays a flute downstream and the girl puts a leaf in the water to show that she likes his songs.  Read the book to find out more.  I like a lot about this book.  Good drawings and detail.

Another teen reviewer watched the movie, “Frenemies.”

“Frenemies” is about a boy who loves his dog.  Then one day a girl who is very popular wants to be his partner on a school project. The dog knows that the boy is in trouble.  Sometime later the boy doesn’t like the girl.  You should watch the movie to see more.  I like almost everything; it’s funny and sad (sometimes).

Finally, one reviewer read the book, “Lock and Key,” by Sarah Dessen.

A 17-year-old girl named Ruby is abandoned by her mother.  She is sent to live with her older sister, Cora.  She is going to private school and lives in an amazing new house.  Next door there is a cute guy who gives her rides to and from school.  Life with her sister is not easy at first but gets better with the help of friends.

Thanks, reviewers, for sharing your thoughts with us.  

Even though I love summer light, I don’t enjoy summer heat.  Remember, it’s cool and sunny in our library!  See you there!


Friday, July 5, 2019

A book event and a book sale for Watercade week

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

It’s Watercade week in Litchfield, and that means a couple of things for the library this year.  One is true every year: on Saturday we have the Watercade book sale.  The special thing this year is that we have artist Art Norby giving a presentation at the library on Wednesday afternoon. 

On Wednesday, July 10, at 2 p.m. in the meeting room, artist and Litchfield High School alum Arthur Norby will give a presentation about his latest novel and autobiography.  Norby is well known as a sculptor and painter.  He has been sculpting for 40 years, creating over 600 sculptures which include more than 15 large-scale public bronzes.  He designed the Minnesota Korean War Veterans Memorial, as well as public sculptures in Spicer, in Willmar, in the International Peace Garden, and all over the country.  Art operated the Norby Gallery in Arizona for a decade starting in the mid-90s.  He still paints and sells his artwork.  He will have copies of his books available to purchase at the program.  The program is funded in part by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. 

The Watercade book sale is the largest sale the library has each year.  Many people are familiar with this one because some of the book racks and tables are set up in front of the library, and you can see it from Art in the Park.  Half of the sale is set up inside the meeting room, so plan to come inside to browse even more; cashiers will be inside, too.  Saturday’s sale will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The Watercade sale has the biggest selection of all of the Friends of the Litchfield Library’s book sales.  What many people don’t realize is that the Watercade book sale is only one of six book sales at the Litchfield Library every year.  The Friends hold a sale in the library meeting room every other month on the third Saturday of the month, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The upcoming dates are September 21, November 16, and January 18. 

On every sale, you’ll find things for kids and adults, with generally much more selection for adults.  Most items are donated by members of our community.  Some are things that have been withdrawn from the library collection because they haven’t been checked out in a long time, and we’ve needed to make space for new things.  The book sale is mostly that – print books – but you’ll also find some books on CD, music CDs, and movies on DVD. 

Other than the book sale and Art Norby’s book talk, regular library programs continue this week.  Storytimes happen on Wednesday and Friday morning.  Brickheads will build with Legos on Thursday night.  And on Saturday afternoon at 1:30, the teen program will be experimenting with green screen special effects using masks.

The summer reading program continues until the end of August, so you can stop by with the kids anytime to turn in their reading logs and claim their prizes.  We’ve gotten some great donations from KLFD, Family Fare, Casey’s, Pizza Ranch, McDonald’s, and the Friends of the Library, so there are many nice prizes to choose from, and more will be coming.  By the time the parade passes by on Saturday evening, though, the library will be closed, so stop in before 5:00, or during the week. 

Have a wonderful Watercade!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Closed for Independence Day

Pioneerland libraries will be closed on Thursday, July 4, for Independence Day.