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, November 29, 2019

Memorable Memories

By Jan Pease

On Saturday, December 14 at 10:00 a.m., please join us at Litchfield Library to welcome our favorite  magician, Magic Bob, as he presents his new show, “The Magic of the Holidays.”  This will be a fun-filled show that everyone will enjoy.  I like Magic Bob because he always has a literature tie in. This year he promises to include “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Twas the Night before Christmas,” as well as “Christmas in Camelot,” part of the “Magic Treehouse” series.”

This represents a break from a long-standing tradition at Litchfield Library.  For many, many years the library has sponsored a Christmas open house on a Thursday evening in December.  Staff often provided cookies or bars, and we usually had one of Santa’s helpers on hand to entertain. 

Before I was on the staff here, Elsie Johnson asked me to be “Mrs. Santa.”  Back then, I had to wear a cap with cotton batting to have white hair.  She sent me home with a plate of cookies, which I put on top of the car while loading my guitar.  I drove off, and the cookies went flying.  Unfortunately, the plastic plate was one Elsie wanted back.  I had to return it to her in pieces. 

The craziest evening was one where we made and decorated small gingerbread houses.  So many people came that we divided into two large groups and took turns making houses in the meeting room.  I had to run to a store to get more decorating supplies.

The most high-risk evening was the open house where I served hot chocolate using a new water pot that heated water to boiling very quickly.  Oops!

Another evening that could have turned tragic was having a library board member portray one of Santa’s elves.  We served “decorate your own sugar cookies,” and it was a blast.  But our elf was very allergic to wheat products and risked an allergic reaction from all the cookie dust.

On one memorable evening, Bob Gasch entertained us with his storytelling and his version of a noisy “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a fun idea that I have borrowed several times.  He was working as a storyteller back then, and could have made people laugh if he’d just read the phone book. 

Our favorite Santa is a gentleman who has worked as a professional Santa in the Twin Cities area, who loves the libraries in Meeker County. As far as I’m concerned, he is the true Santa.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t come this year.  So instead of a cold, dark evening, we’ll have a get together in the bright daylight, depending on the weather.  


After December 14th, we’ll take a break from children’s
programming, and start again in January.  2020 marks the beginning of my 30th year working at Litchfield Public Library.  I wonder what the New Year will bring?

Early Saturday Closing November 30

The Litchfield Library will close at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 30, for carpet cleaning.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Closed for Thanksgiving

Pioneerland libraries will be closed on Thursday, November 28, for Thanksgiving.  Libraries will be open Friday. 

Litchfield Library will close at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 30, for carpet cleaning.

Friday, November 22, 2019

What are you thankful for?

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

As we prepare to gather together next week for our holiday of thankfulness, what are you thankful for?  I’m thankful for my family, my home, and my work at the library, quite honestly.  Work is work, but I’m grateful to have the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives through the wide variety of interesting things we do in library service.  And what a privilege to work in this beautiful Litchfield Library, making people happy with books and other library resources every day! 

Let me share with you a few of the new books that are about things you might be thankful for.
We can be thankful for children and family.  Mitch Albom’s new book Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family tells his personal story of a child he met in an orphanage he runs in Haiti.  Albom and his wife Janine did not have children of their own, and when 5-year old orphan Chika was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the couple took her back to the U.S. and around the world seeking a cure.  Through the short time they all spent together, Mitch and Janine learned about the joys of caring for a child even when her arrival in the family didn’t happen in the usual way. Reviewers describe it as tender, beautiful, and sad.

We can be thankful for people who came before us and made the world a better place.  Hope in the Struggle is a new memoir by Josie R. Johnson, published by University of Minnesota Press.  Johnson is a Minnesota teacher, activist, and public servant who first became involved in the civil rights movement in the 1940s as a teenager in Texas.  She co-chaired the Minnesota delegation to the March on Washington in 1963, and she was the first African-American to serve on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents in 1971.  Johnson’s memoir tells her life story, and it also addresses the issue of maintaining hope when it feels like it’s impossible to make a difference.

We might be thankful for education.  Another new book from University of Minnesota Press, Professor Berman: The Last Lecture of Minnesota’s Greatest Public Historian is actually a memoir rather than a lecture.  Jay Weiner put this book together using the writings and interviews of U of M professor Hy Berman, who was a regular on the Minnesota PBS show Almanac.  Berman knew Hubert Humphrey well, and that’s reflected in the book; other Minnesota politicians such as Rudy Perpich and Harold Stassen appear, as well.

Maybe you’re thankful for food and drink, which is of course a big part of Thanksgiving.  I can’t say that I’m personally at all thankful for beer, but if you are, perhaps you’d be interested in The Drink that Made Wisconsin Famous: Beer and Brewing in the Badger State by Doug Hoverson. This is a newly-published history, stretching from the pioneers in the mid-nineteenth century to current breweries and brewpubs in Wisconsin.

On the food front, we have the new cookbook Copycat Restaurant Favorites.  Published by Taste of Home Books, this one includes more than 100 recipes inspired by Olive Garden, Panera Bread, Pizza Hut, and many other popular chains.  We also have Sweet Nature: A Cook’s Guide to Using Honey and Maple Syrup by Beth Dooley and Mette Nielsen.  Dooley is an award-winning cookbook author who covers the Minnesota food scene for the Star Tribune, KARE 11, and MPR.

And of course, we can be thankful for books.  I know I am.  As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Keep your eyes open to your mercies.  The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life.” Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Pumpkins, Patience, and Phalaenopsis Orchids

By Jan Pease

Friday in story time we read a wonderful story by Karma Wilson, “Bear Gives Thanks.”  For our project we made little pumpkins decorated with glitter glue and raffia, two of my favorite things.  The idea was to decorate the table for Thanksgiving.   I enjoyed watching the children, who ranged from very young to school-aged all producing unique pumpkins using the same basic materials.  One of the older children produced a really lovely pumpkin that had just enough glitter to sparkle.  Her youngest brother enthusiastically produced a colorful, somewhat globby creation that somehow captures his personality.  Globby may or may not be a word, but it should be.

On the 22nd we will talk about saying thank you and enjoy Ms. Wilson’s book again.  We’ll also talk about manners and what to do when confronted with a new or different food. Are your children or grandchildren used to eating meals with napkins, silverware, and manners?  Let me know.  I won’t be judgmental, but I’m curious.

Some titles that might help prepare children for holiday manners are books like “Miss Molly’s School of Manners,” by James Maclaine, or “Mind your Manners,” by Nicola Edwards.  For a fun approach to the subject try “Manners Mash-up: a Goofy Guide to Good Behavior,” by Tedd Arnold and other  well-known children’s illustrators.  If you need to brush up on your own etiquette, try “Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother,” by Jeremiah Tower.

Many of you know that I like to grow orchids.  I grow phalaenopsis orchids, often called butterfly orchids,  and have several plants.  Right now only one plant has blooms on it, but two of the others have new interesting bits sprouting from the stems that may produce beautiful flowers.  We’ll just have to wait and see. Sometimes I get tired of waiting, because for part of the year I have a plain plant that doesn’t do anything.   About the time I’m ready to give up and throw it out, something interesting begins to happen. 

Watching children grow learn to be creative is a bit like growing orchids.  Not that we would throw them out like a plant!  But sometimes it’s hard to be patient.  But if you provide some basic materials, give them time and patience you’ll see growth and creativity happen.   It takes a lot of time and patience, but it’s worth it.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Cozy in the Kitchen

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

A cozy kitchen can be a good place to find comfort as the days get darker and colder.  You can visit the library for new cookbooks to try out as you warm up your kitchen this fall and winter.

Taste of Home is a popular magazine that publishes recipes submitted by home cooks.  The company, which is part of Reader’s Digest, also publishes cookbooks.  One of their latest is Taste of Home Kitchen Hacks: 100 Hints, Tricks & Timesavers – and the Recipes to Go withThem.  This sounds like a unique cookbook, focused on tricks to make things easier in the kitchen, like how to chop six hardboiled eggs at once or how to hull strawberries with no mess.  Recipes accompany the helpful hints.  I’m intrigued to look at this one.

Award-winning chef Sean Brock’s second cookbook South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations has been named a best cookbook of this fall by a number of media outlets.  Brock covers the core recipes of Southern cooking here, along with a look at the different regions within the South and their history and specialties. Look for fundamentals like grits and fried chicken, along with less familiar foods like eggplant purloo and rhubarb-tomato conserve, in this artfully photographed book.

The smell of bread baking makes a house feel warm and snug.  The new cookbook Living Bread: Tradition and Innovation in Artisan Bread Making might inspire you to try out some new bread baking techniques.  Author Daniel Leader founded the Bread Alone Bakery in the Catskills in 1983 with help from a French expert.  He produces organic, wood-fired, artisan bread on a large scale using environmentally friendly methods, and he has been influential in the artisanal bread world.  Using this cookbook, you can bake basic breads or more complicated things like sourdough and sprouted breads.

Gathering with friends and family is another way to raise your spirits this time of year.  Author Alison Roman says, “It’s not entertaining, it’s having people over.”  In her new cookbook Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over, Roman presents an array of trendy gourmet recipes that she says are easy to make and crowd-pleasing.  I would say it’s all fancier than what most of us are used to, but the ingredients don’t look overly intimidating.

For another trendy cookbook with recipes that sound a little simpler, you can look for Antoni in the Kitchen.  Author Antoni Porowski is the food and wine expert on the popular Netflix show Queer Eye, and he specializes in teaching people how to become more confident with their cooking.   The cookbook includes sections on vegetables, pasta and rice, meat, and baked goods, as well as a chapter called “weeknight healthyish.” 

For a cookbook with more exotic ingredients, check out Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen by Adeena Sussman.  “Sababa” is Hebrew for “everything is awesome” (cue the catchy song from the Lego Movie). This cookbook takes a cheerful approach to sharing the foods Sussman has learned about since moving from America to Israel, especially things she finds in her local outdoor market. 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, with all of the delicious food involved in that day. Oscar Wilde said, “After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relatives.”  Check out one of the vast numbers of cookbooks at the library and find some recipes for good dinners to make at your house.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

No Makerspace in November

The Litchfield Makerspace program for grades 4-6 will not be held in November since the library will be closed for Veterans Day.  Join us on December 9th for the next Makerspace program!

Closed for Veterans Day

Pioneerland libraries will be closed on Monday, November 11, for Veterans Day.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Library closing early Nov. 30, no teen program

The Litchfield Library will close at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 30, for carpet cleaning.  There will be no teen program that day.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Quirky: Characterized by Peculiar or Unexpected Traits. As in "her sense of humor was decidedly quirky"

 By Jan Pease

“Bet You Didn’t Know! 2: outrageous, awesome, out of-this-world facts!”  This quirky book is by the staff at National Geographic Kids.  The book is packed with colorful pictures and all sorts of information that you probably don’t know about. You might not know that you need this book, but you do.

Another quirky book comes to mind, “The Big Book of Silly Jokes for Kids,” by Carole P. Roman.  This book contains more than 800 jokes for kids. The jokes are oldies but goodies like “What word is always spelled wrong?  Answer: the word, wrong.  The quirkiest user of this book was a mom who cut out jokes and put them in her child’s lunchbox.
always spelled wrong?

“Did You Burp? How to ask questions…or not!” is a slightly quirky book by April Pylley Sayre that answers important inquiries such as “what makes a good question?” or “what makes a rude question?” This is an important social skill, and it is useful in many situations.  But it has to be learned, as any parent who has survived the hundreds of questions asked by  young children on any given day.


The “Peanuts” comics can be a little melancholy:  think of that poor little Christmas tree, or Charlie Brown never, ever kicking that football.  But “hopeful joy” is how a reviewer at describes Charles Schulz, and his biography, “Born to Draw Comics.”  Ginger Wadsworth wrote, and Craig Orback illustrated this colorful biography of one of the most influential comic strip artists of our time.

“Prehistoric,” by Kathleen Wiedner Zohfeld, gives a broad look at prehistory.  Contrary to popular supposition, I am not a living fossil. 

Another book, "Megabugs: and other prehistoric critters that roamed the planet," by Helaine Becker, also looks at prehistoric animals, but is limited to insects.   I hope no one gets the idea to clone a bunch of prehistoric insects, including the millipedes that were as big as crocodiles!"

“Charlotte Bronte before Jane Eyre,” by Glynnis Fawkes is a book that is quirky because of its format.  This is a  biographical graphic novel.  It shows the Bronte sisters early life and education and ends with the publication of “Jane Eyre.”  I have affection for this book, because one of the comics I owned as a child was a Classics Illustrated volume of “Jane Eyre,” probably published around 1965.  I read it again and again.  And nostalgically just ordered it online.     See you at the library!