216 N Marshall Ave

Litchfield MN 55355


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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.

Thursday, December 26, 2019


By Jan Pease

Do you experience the joy of “ear worms?”  Well, my current “ear worm” is the tune for “I Wonder as I Wander,” by John Jacob Nyles.  He wrote down a fragment of a song that was sung in Murphy, South Carolina by the young daughter of an itinerant evangelist.  Her name was Annie Morgan.  She sang what we know as the first verse for 25 cents.  (Her family was down and out, and trying to raise money for gas to leave town because they had made a nuisance of themselves by camping in the town square and hanging their laundry on the town monument to a Confederate soldier.)  Mr. Nyles only collected part of the song, but he wrote the rest and performed it on December 19, 1933 at the John E. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina.  It is one of the few truly American Christmas songs.   listen

I think that even in these darkest weeks of winter, there is a sense of wonder.  Sometimes wonder comes in the simplest of ways.  A nine-month-old baby focused on the twinkling lights of a Christmas book.   She was sitting on her mom’s lap several feet away from the book, but looked right at it and then looked up at me with her beautiful dark eyes.  

Wonder was very visible on children’s faces during Magic Bob’s “Magic of the Holidays” show.  They loved it when Bob magically grew a Christmas tree.  They really loved seeing the velveteen rabbit turn into a real, living bunny.  One little thinker showed Bob a sticker of a dinosaur and asked him to change it into a real dinosaur.  Magic Bob suggested that he should tape it to the bottom of his bed and wait 50 years to see what happens.  I wonder if it will work?

I wish I could re-experience the wonder of making the first tracks on new-fallen snow. Or the excitement of looking for deer tracks in Youngstrom Woods with my daughter and her giggling friends.  I would like to re-capture the mysterious sense of wonder while seeing that same daughter, a bit older, portray Mary in a nativity play with awkward “Joseph” behind her.

As long as we’re wishing, I’d like to see my Grandma Milan unbraid her hair, which I loved  but could never brush.  I’d like to hear my mom play beautiful music on Grandma Hilary’s cracked-key upright that sounded very out of tune until she played it.  I’d like to ask my brother Jim to forgive me for always making him be the donkey when we acted out the nativity story in Grandma’s living room. 

All of these experiences add up to gifts of time that cost nothing but are worth the effort.  I hope your Christmas season is gentle and peaceful and full of wonder.

Remember that the library is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and that there is no story time on Friday, December 27.

And now I’m going to try to switch my ear worm to a different song, “We Wish You  Merry Christmas!” (and a Happy New Year!)  See you at the library!


Monday, December 23, 2019

Family-friendly movies for winter days

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

The holiday season can bring some downtime to families, if major traveling isn’t involved. If that’s true for your family, or if you’re looking for some entertainment for the cold days of January, these new DVDs at the Litchfield library might be right for both the kids and the grownups in the house.

The animated film “Abominable” has a “Common Sense Selection” seal of approval from Common Sense Media and a “Certified Fresh” rating from Rotten Tomatoes.  That adds up to it being a quality movie that’s recommended for families, specifically kids ages 8 and up.  Reviews say the general storyline about a kid finding an unusual creature and teaming up with friends to protect it isn’t anything new, but it has the interesting element of being set in Shanghai with Chinese teen characters.  The animation is also supposed to be beautiful.  The movie is called “Abominable” because it’s about a yeti.

“Dora the Explorer” is a popular animated series that has been airing for many years.  It was a staple at my house in the early 2000s.  The new movie “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” is a live-action feature film starring the same character.  Like “Abominable,” it’s certified fresh by Rotten Tomatoes, meaning the reviews are very good.  Dora has left the jungle where we usually find her adventuring in the cartoon, and now she’s learning about the adventure of high school.  But when her parents disappear, Dora leads a group of her new high school friends into the jungle to find them.  Common Sense Media recommends the movie for ages 8 and up.

The “How to Train Your Dragon” series of movies is beloved by many.  “How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming” is a holiday television special that aired this year.  It takes place just before the last scene of the last movie of the trilogy.  Viking Hiccup puts together a holiday pageant to celebrate dragons and has an adventure with his beloved Toothless the dragon. 

An interesting documentary can sometimes appeal to the whole family.  “Maiden” is a documentary about the first all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World sailboat race.  Reviews say it’s an exciting and inspiring movie even for those who don’t otherwise care about sailing.  Common Sense Media gave it its seal of approval but recommends it for ages 11 and up because of profanity plus sexist language.  Rotten Tomatoes has it at a 98% positive rating.

“Life from Above” is another family-friendly documentary, this one from PBS.  Footage taken from space shows the earth from a new perspective, allowing us to see patterns, colors, and movements on a large scale.

Mister Rogers is getting renewed interest these days, with a beloved documentary last year and a feature film this year.  If you’d like to revisit the original show, you could check out “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Mister Rogers and Making Mistakes,” a newly-released collection of episodes about how everyone makes mistakes sometimes. 

Other recent DVDs that your family may enjoy include the TV series “Fuller House,” “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” “Descendants 3,” “Harry Potter:  A History of Magic,” and “Toy Story 4.” 
Pioneerland libraries will close at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 31, for New Year’s Eve, and will be closed on Wednesday, January 1, for New Year’s Day.  Happy New Year!

All I Want for Christmas is... a romantic novel

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

It’s the Christmas season, and for some people that means it’s time to get in the spirit by reading Christmas books.  Some Christmas novels are family stories, cozy mysteries, or inspirational novels, but quite a few are romances.   Find comfort and joy with these new holiday romances available at the Litchfield library.

 “Royal Holiday” is the fourth in Jasmine Guillory’s very popular “Wedding Date” series of romances.  Middle-aged American Vivian accompanies her professional stylist daughter on a work trip to an English royal wedding.  She meets the very proper Malcolm, longtime private secretary to the Queen, and they begin a romance after a kiss under the mistletoe.  Some reviewers have commented on how enjoyable it is to find a rom-com featuring people over fifty.

“The Christmas Keeper” is the second in the “Happily Ever After” series by Jenn McKinlay, but the two books are only loosely connected.  “Booklist” magazine describes the novel as a combination of small town charm, “sassy humor,” spicy romance, and Christmas cheer.  The premise of the story is that a rancher falls in love at first sight, but the woman he wants to marry is preoccupied with getting revenge on a former boss. He enlists the staff of the local bookstore and the spirit of Christmas to win her over.

“Coming Home for Christmas” is family story by RaeAnne Thayne, set in her fictional town of Haven Point.  Elizabeth, a married mother of two, was deep in postpartum depression and grief from the death of her parents when she left her family.  A car accident damaged her memory and prevented her from returning to them for years.  When her husband finds her and brings her home for Christmas, they find a second chance at love and family.

Author Emily March also sets her stories in a fictional small town, Eternity Springs.  Recently, Litchfield Library has gotten “The Christmas Wishing Tree,” the eighteenth in that series, in large print.  International adventurer Devin is visiting his hometown for Christmas when he gets a misdialed call from a little boy who thinks he is talking to Santa.  The little boy’s guardian Jenna thinks that the peaceful town of Eternity Springs sounds like the perfect place to hide from a threat in their lives.  When she meets Devin, he suggests a way to face the danger they’re under and make the little boy’s wish come true.

Charlotte Hubbard is an author of historical romances and Amish novels.  The library has recently added the large print of her novel, “A Simple Christmas” from the “Simple Gifts” series.  The Simple Gifts craft shop is preparing for Christmas amid financial troubles.  Horse trainer Marcus left his Amish life years ago but has returned to seek some help from his family.  Rosalyn is the last unmarried daughter of the craft shop’s owner, and when Marcus walks into the shop, sparks fly.

Wanda Brunstetter is a popular Christian fiction author.  Her novel “A Christmas Prayer” tells a story of a group of pioneers who set out too late to complete their travels west before the snow falls.  Christmas finds them taking shelter in a small cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Cynthia is traveling with her mother and the man she has promised to marry, a loveless arrangement meant to provide for the women.  But the snowstorm allows the entire traveling party to get to know each other better, offering Cynthia new romantic prospects and a chance to reconsider her plans.

Clearly these are all lightweight escapism in book form, but sometimes we need that during the holidays. Pioneerland libraries will be closed on Tuesday, December 24, and Wednesday, December 25, for Christmas.  The libraries will close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 31, and will be closed on Wednesday, January 1, for New Year’s.  All other days the library will be open regular hours.  Merry Christmas!

Closed for Christmas

Monday, December 2, 2019

Tech Deconstruction at Makerspace Dec. 9

Kids in grades 4-6, join us for Makerspace from 3:30-4:30 on Monday, December 9, in the library meeting room.  We'll be doing tech deconstruction with our new Makerspace leader Kevin!