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.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Friday, May 22, 2020

Curbside, winter and summer reading programs, and celebrating Jan

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Curbside pickup is tremendously popular at the Litchfield Library. Meeker County people love their books!  We’ve officially expanded those hours a bit to 12:30-4:30 Monday/Wednesday/Friday. We’ve been offering additional curbside hours on days when large numbers of requested items have arrived in the delivery, and we’ll be expanding those times further.

If you’d like to order some items for curbside pickup, but you can’t think of specific titles you want, you can go to the main page of the Pioneerland catalog and click on “New Items Purchased” near the bottom of the page.  Some of Litchfield’s newest books are on display in the front windows along the sidewalk, so stroll by and do some window shopping. I’m also posting videos and photos of the new items on the library’s Facebook page from time to time.

You might think you’re bothering us if you call and don’t know exactly what you want to order. But for me, those requests can be a lot of fun. I’ve had people ask for books by a particular author, whatever we have on the shelf. I’ve had people tell me who their favorite authors are and ask for recommendations for authors who might be similar. I’ve been asked for a stack of picture books. Those are all legitimate requests and we are happy to pull some things together.  You could also ask for some books on a subject you want to read about, whether the books are for a child or an adult.

If you happen to still have winter reading punch cards at home and you’d like to get the prize you’d intended to pick up, you can put those cards in the book drop and talk with us on the phone about which prize you’d like – or write us a note on the sheet. We can arrange to get those to you through curbside pickup, especially if we can coordinate that with your book appointment. We still have mugs, mouse pads, earrings, car chargers, and candy bars. We even have a couple of the bags that we managed to acquire from another library at the end of the program, so you could let us know if you didn’t get one when we ran out this winter.  We’ll plan to do a really late final prize drawing for the local restaurant gift certificates, so that’s another reason to drop those sheets off. I’m hoping they don’t get lost in the book drop!

The summer reading program will work in a similar way. We won’t sign kids up this year. But starting the second week of June, we’ll have summer reading game sheets available to be put in your curbside appointment bags.  When you schedule your book pickup time, you can tell staff how many kids you need sheets for.  Completed sheets can be dropped in the book drop, and prizes will be given out through curbside delivery, preferably when the family’s books are being picked up. We recognize that families may be tired of distance learning and that tracking reading time may not be your priority this summer. But if it makes your kids happy to participate in the summer reading program, we want to offer that option. The most important thing is that kids keep reading and that parents keep reading to them, whether you keep track of that time or not.  Watch the library’s website and Facebook page for more information about the summer reading program in June.

We will miss Jan at the library. If you send a retirement card to her in care of the library, we will be sure to get it to her. Jan deserves as much celebrating as we can give her for her decades of excellent service to the community. From what I’ve seen in the past decade working alongside her, I know she has had a profound impact on so many people’s lives, both children and adults. She has lived her calling of helping others every day she worked here, which I’m sure she will continue to do – but on her own schedule. Congratulations to Jan on her retirement and on her long career at the library!

Curbside service begins

by Beth Cronk, Meeker County Librarian

Pioneerland libraries are now offering contact-free curbside delivery at most locations. While our buildings remain closed to the public until further notice due to the pandemic, we are getting library materials out to patrons in a safe manner.

At Litchfield Library, curbside hours are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 12:30-4:30 p.m. At Dassel Library, those hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-5 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. At Grove City Library, they’re Tuesdays, 2-5 p.m., and Fridays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. At Cosmos Library, appointments are Wednesdays and Fridays, 2-5 p.m.

To request library books, DVDs, and CDs, go to the library catalog at, or call the library. By calling the library, you can also request magazine issues and, if we have them on hand, newspapers with the exception of the Independent Review. 

Delivery is happening between Pioneerland libraries but not between library systems. You can request things from other libraries in our system but not from other parts of the state at this time. Items are likely to take longer to arrive than in normal times.

Once your requested materials are ready, library staff will call you to schedule a pickup time. You will not get email notifications at this point.

At your appointment time, please park in the designated spot. At Litchfield, that’s on Marshall Avenue in front of the library’s front doors.  If you’re walking or biking, we ask that you wait by the parking sign. Call the library to let us know you’re there, and we’ll bring your bag of items out to the designated spot in front of the library, which for Litchfield is a table. Your items will have been checked out to you in advance. When the staff member goes back into the building, you may go to the table to pick up your bag. You will get a due date slip with your materials. Everything including DVDs currently has a due date four weeks from the checkout date.

We cannot take money or returned library items at the curbside pickup table, so we are not collecting fines at this time. Please put all returns in the book drop. We follow a procedure to quarantine returned items for at least 72 hours after they’re returned before we check them in, in accordance with current best practices for libraries.

Do not use the curbside service or return library materials if you or anyone in your household are feeling ill. Please contact the library and we will renew your materials or reschedule your appointment.

We are unable to meet you at the door at this time, so please call or email the library if we can assist you with research, library card issues, ebooks, or anything else. The Litchfield Library number is (320)693-2483 and the email address is .  My email address is

To do a little browsing of new books, look for the window displays facing the sidewalk along Marshall Avenue. I’m also making some videos featuring our new books when I can. Follow the Litchfield Library Facebook page for updates or check out our new website at

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Jan's farewell column

By Jan Pease

Today I’m going to tell you a story.  A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Oops!  Wrong story!  Let’s try this again.

Late In 1990 I was a sad mom who was still grieving the loss of our infant son, Nathaniel.  Our daughter was in first grade, and I was at home every day, but was teaching a few piano students.  My mom saw a little notice in the paper that the library was looking for someone to work 8 hours a week, including one story hour.  Mom suggested that it would be good for me to get out of the house.   She promised free child care!  So I applied, head librarian Carol Blunt hired me, and as they say, the rest is history.  I officially started in January of 1991.

My brother’s comment was, “Eight hours a week! Is that a real job?”  It grew into a bigger job, but planning and presenting story times remained a huge part of what I do.  Eventually, I was responsible for purchasing books for the four libraries in Meeker County.   Summer Reading Programs have been a big part of my job.  I’ve also written an average of two columns a month for more than 20 years.  That might be the equivalent of the book I always meant to write.

It’s been a privilege to work with talented, curious, intelligent people.  The staff at Litchfield Library provides excellent library services.  I have to add that Beth Cronk has done a wonderful job of stepping into the management of all of the Meeker County libraries.  

As time slipped by I approached retirement age.  It came so fast!  I thought if my health held up, I’d like to work until age 67.  Well, during our great time out, I had a birthday and the number is 67. I’ve been talking about when and how to retire, and the time is now.

 Library service is drastically changed, and there are no summer programs planned for groups at this time.  It seems like a good time to close this chapter of my life.  Do I need to add that this is an extremely difficult decision? But it’s the right decision.  As of May 31st, I’m retired.

I love living in Litchfield, and Dave and I will still be here.  We have no retirement plans to move to a more temperate clime.   I’m looking forward to having free time to meet friends for coffee or lunch, or both. 

Robert Browning wrote, in a poem titled “Rabbi Ben Ezra” (read the whole poem sometime)
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!''

See you around!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Book Return Open

Are you getting tired of keeping library books at your house?  You may now return your library items in the book drop if you wish.

Due dates have been extended to the end of May, so there's no rush.

Please NO BAGS so that the slot doesn't get blocked, and please no donations.

If you look at your account online, you will see that the things you return remain checked out to you for at least 72 hours after you drop them off, so that we can quarantine them according to best practices for libraries.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

One Book | One Minnesota launches with "Because of Winn-Dixie"

Hey Minnesota, let’s read together! One Book | One Minnesota is a new statewide book club that invites Minnesotans of all ages to read a common title and come together virtually to enjoy, reflect, and discuss. The first book selection is New York Times bestseller and Newbery Honor winner “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Minnesota’s own Kate DiCamillo! Learn more here: #onebookmn

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Adult Book Club virtual meeting: O Pioneers

If you usually attend the adult book club at noon on the 2nd Tuesday of the month and you'd like to join our 12:00 Zoom call but haven't gotten an email about this at all from Beth, email her at At noon she will email the information about how to join the call.

At 1:00 today, Beth will go live on Facebook to lead a discussion about the book O Pioneers. If you regularly attend adult book club and you don't do Zoom or haven't been in contact with Beth to get that meeting info, or if you've never come to book club but want to talk about the book, please join us!

Willa Cather took the name of her novel from the Walt Whitman poem "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" Listen to the poem here:

Virtual Maker Space

Monday afternoon was the time for our regularly-scheduled Maker Space program. Do you like Minecraft? Do you want to learn to do coding? Visit to do an Hour of Code and learn about the building blocks of computer programming! There's a Hero's Journey option, a Voyage Aquatic, and other fun challenges. comes recommended by School Library Journal and is offered in partnership with Microsoft.

PBS Books Storytime

PBS Books has started offering a daily storytime on Facebook.  You can also access the videos on YouTube.  Here's their first one, "Madeline Finn & the Library Dog" by Lisa Papp, read by the author.

Good Night with Dolly

Every Thursday night at 6:00, Dolly Parton reads a new Imagination Library bedtime story! She also provides activity sheets, reading tips for parents, and suggestions for more books like the one she reads aloud.

Minnesota's stay-at-home order extended

The new executive order for Minnesota extends the stay-at home-order through May 3. Read the details here:

Safer ways to do a Zoom call

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Easy access to academic resources

With many libraries closing their physical locations, is offering a new way for Minnesota residents to directly request electronic journal articles and chapters of electronic books. Just visit and click on the red “Request Electronic Resources” link. This is especially useful for college students but available to all.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Storytime Songs at Home

Hello, storytime families!  We miss you!  Even though we can't meet in person, you can listen to some of the songs Mrs. Pease uses in storytimes.  Enjoy!

And remember to practice sneezing into your elbow!

For a wide selection of stories read by celebrities, vetted by the American Library Association, visit this website:

Thursday, April 2, 2020

April Book Club Pick Available in Ebook

Litchfield Library's adult book club is reading O Pioneers! by Willa Cather for April. It just so happens that the title is available for unlimited checkouts through our Overdrive ebook service! Search for it on Libby or the Overdrive app or find it here:

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, and we'll try to offer it virtually on that day on Facebook Live, Zoom, or both.

Unlimited Checkouts for 1st Harry Potter Book in April

"When in doubt, go to the library." - Ron Weasley.
In this case, the virtual library... No waiting for Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone in both ebook and downloadable audiobook! Use Overdrive or Libby to check out the first Harry Potter book, which is available for unlimited users to check out simultaneously in April.


Library Closed, Resources Still Available

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

The Litchfield Public Library is closed indefinitely because of COVID-19, along with all other libraries in Pioneerland Library System.  The book drop is closed, as well.  For now, please keep public library books and movies at home, and once the library reopens you may return them.  Due dates will continue to be extended while the library is closed, so there’s no need to worry about late fees.

All library events and programs that had been scheduled for April and May are canceled or indefinitely postponed.  This includes storytimes, Brickheads Lego building, book clubs, craft and activity programs for adults and kids, and the May book sale.  We are hoping to offer some virtual programs or online content that you can access from home.  For example, I’m hoping to host my April 14th book club meeting via Zoom or Facebook Live so that we can discuss “O Pioneers!” without the health risk of gathering a group of people. 

Some resources are available while the library is closed.

Pioneerland’s downloadable ebooks and audiobooks are available at or by using the free Libby or Overdrive app on a smartphone, tablet, or Kindle.  To find your local collection, search Overdrive for your local library, and that will lead you to Pioneerland.  If it lists a library system name other than Pioneerland, you may have chosen a Litchfield or Grove City in another state; it’s a common mistake.

Most titles are available to only one person at a time, just like a physical book, but a collection of classics is available for unlimited numbers of users to borrow at one time.  Another option is the current Big Library Read, a book that Overdrive chooses for unlimited checkouts for a limited time.  The current title is Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic: A Comedian’s Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary.  This is a teen-oriented memoir that adults can also enjoy.  It’s available for unlimited borrowers through April 13. 

Even though the libraries are closed, our library system is adding more downloadable titles all the time to meet your need for books.  Looking for something you can check out immediately, instead of putting yourself on a waiting list?  Choose “collections,” then “available now,” and you can view your many options for checking out a book right away. 

Don’t have a library card? There’s a new way to sign up for a digital card online.  Go to Overdrive or Libby on a computer, phone, or tablet, and choose the option to sign up for an instant digital card using your cell phone number. You should only use this option if you don’t already have a library card. Ebooks are only available to people who live within the service area of each library system; Meeker County residents can access Pioneerland ebooks, but residents of some of our neighboring counties cannot.

If you have a library card that has expired within the past year or that was about to expire in the coming two months, your card’s expiration date has now been extended to June, and you should be able to use it to check out ebooks.  If you have trouble using your card, you can email me at and I will find out if someone from our headquarters can resolve the issue. 

You can also send me an email if you need assistance with research, and I’ll do what I can with online resources from home.  Another option is AskMN, the 24-hour information and research help service from Minnesota libraries.  Visit for real-time online chat assistance from a librarian for help finding information on any topic, including college research. 

Prefer to do the searching yourself? The Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) is a massive online resource that’s free for Minnesotans.  You can access magazine, academic journal, and newspaper articles, encyclopedias for all ages, test prep resources, résumé guidance, and federal government documents.  It’s a fantastic resource for students as well as the general public.  One unique collection within ELM is called Minnesota Reflections; it’s made up of images and documents from throughout the history of Minnesota, contributed by museums, archives, colleges, and libraries across the state.  Access ELM at

Free public wifi is available outside the library.  If you park on the street or in the parking lot near the building, you should be able to pick it up, and no password is required.

I hope you are staying home as much as possible as our whole society works together to control this pandemic.  I am hopeful that we can care for each other and each do our part for the greater good.  I wish you health and happiness in the midst of this stressful time.

Monday, March 30, 2020

April and May programs canceled or postponed

All April and May library programs and events are canceled or indefinitely postponed. We hope you will continue reading, singing, crafting, building with Legos, and using technology from home while we take this break from gathering in groups. We'd love to see some of your creativity shared on our Facebook page! We're working on offering some content, ideas, and discussions virtually.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Digital library cards now available!

Digital library cards now available! Did you miss out on getting to the library for a card before everything closed? You can sign up on Overdrive/Libby for a temporary digital library card that will allow you to check out our ebooks and downloadable audiobooks. You'll enter your cell phone number to demonstrate that you live within our regional library system.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

BookPage Magazine Available Online

Looking for reading recommendations? Love the book review magazine you can normally pick up at our library's front desk? You can access it online:

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Big Library Read: Funny, You Don't Look Autistic available for unlimited checkouts

It's time for a Big Library Read!
Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic: A Comedian’s Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary
This title is available to unlimited simultaneous borrowers from March 23 to April 13 in both ebook and audiobook format through Overdrive and Libby with your Pioneerland library card.
Like many others on the autism spectrum, 20-something stand-up comic Michael McCreary has been told by more than a few well-meaning folks that he doesn’t “look” autistic. But, as he’s quick to point out in this memoir, autism “looks” different for just about everyone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Coronavirus: What You Should Know

We have been asked about coronavirus, and as a library we are here to provide trusted information.

What is Coronavirus, or COVID-19?

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that has not been found in people before.  
Because this is a new virus, there are still things we do not know, such as how severe the illness can be, how well it is transmitted between people, and other features of the virus. 

Trusted information sources

The CDC has set up a website – accessible in English, Spanish, and Somali – with updated information and resources. On this site you will find details on prevention, symptoms, testing, and ways to keep you and your family healthy.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is another reliable source to find resources, information for schools and child care, preventative actions, and a situation update on the state of Minnesota.


The CDC has recommended the following ways to help people protect themselves from respiratory illness:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Additional Resources

Monday, March 23, 2020

Safe at Home

By Jan Pease

So I’m writing this from home.    I’m fine, but I fit in all of the major health conditions that officials are warning us about: diabetes, heart trouble, blood thinners, over 65, and as the French say, “en surpoids.”        It sounds much better in French.  I’m not afraid, but my family insists that I stay home.

The last time I was sequestered was due to measles when I was a child.  I remember staying in the living room with the shades pulled, listening to classical music records my dad brought home from the library.  My favorite was HMS Pinafore.  I wasn’t allowed to read!  It was horrible.   Not the fever, rash , and itching, but the not reading.

I thought about listing some of the resources available to help keep children busy, but there are so many things out there.  Facebook is packed with ideas and videos.  The library has children’s books about Fiona, a hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo: the zoo posted a video about her which was adorable.  I watched and listened the great Yo-Yo Ma play some of his favorite pieces for cello.  Pinterest has more ideas than I could make in a lifetime. Besides all this, the staff at the high school posted a music video that is hilarious.  Maybe I’ve had a bit too much screen time!

At our last story hour we talked about germs.  We practiced sneezing and washing our hands.  We watched glitter pass from person to person on toys.   The book that day was Do Not Lick this Book, by  Idan Ben Barak and Julian Frost, a great book about microbes.   I think the main thing is to not frighten children during all this craziness.  Mr. Rogers said “Look for the helpers.”  They are already helping. 

One of my dad’s favorite saying was “This too will pass.”   He lived through the Depression and WWII, and said a final goodbye to his parents, brother, grandson, and good friends.   But it’s true,  no matter what our problem is, it will pass.  Most of us aren’t asked to lay our lives on the line like members of the armed forces, health care workers, or first responders.   We are just asked to stay home.  

Please remember that the library is closed through the end of March.  Also, please wait to return items, as they aren’t due until April 8th.  If you need internet access, library wi-fi is available in the parking lot for your phone, tablet, or laptop.

There’s a saying that I hear frequently: “May you live in interesting times.”  Instead of being a statement, it is actually attributed to an old curse.  Well, it certainly is an interesting time!  See you when the library re-opens!

Access resources while the library is closed

The Litchfield Library remains closed through the end of the month, but some library resources are still available to you. 

Our downloadable ebooks and audiobooks are available here: or by using the free Libby or Overdrive app and searching for Litchfield Library (making sure you choose the one in Minnesota). is the website for statewide free electronic library resources. 

And you can email the county librarian Beth Cronk at for research assistance, and she will use her training and experience in online research to answer your questions. 

We will also answer your questions via Messenger, but that is not a very private way to ask your research questions. 

If you need free public wifi at any hour, you can park nearby to pick up the library's, no password needed.

Stay well!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Litchfield Library closing at 6 pm Tuesday March 17 through the end of March

Pioneerland libraries will be closing at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17.  They will remain closed through March 31 to follow social distancing guidelines from the CDC and MN Dept. of Health.  Due dates for all materials are extended to April 8th. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Library programs canceled through the end of March

In an effort to comply with CDC & MN Dept. of Health recommendations in limiting social gatherings, Pioneerland Library System is suspending all programming & outreach activities through the end of March.  At this time the library will remain open for regular services.

The sock animal workshop for March 16 is postponed indefinitely.  We will notify the people who had signed up when we are able to reschedule.

Storytimes and Brickheads Lego building are called off for the remainder of March.  Mystery book club will not meet March 18.

The March book sale is canceled.

The Friends of the Litchfield Library March meeting is canceled.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Check out books from the comfort of home

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Everyone knows that you can get books by visiting the library, but did you know that you can download books even if you’re at home?  All of the regional public library systems in Minnesota have downloadable ebooks and audiobooks available for checkout.
In Pioneerland Library System, we have a contract with Overdrive to provide our ebooks and downloadable audiobooks.  They are available to check out through both the Overdrive app and the Libby app, which are free to download from your electronic device’s app store.  You also have the option to read books on your computer without an app, using the OverDrive Read feature.

As of March 12, Pioneerland had 4,560 ebooks (the ones you look at to read like a print book) and 1,621 audiobooks to download.  New books are added all the time.  You can view our collection by visiting our online catalog and clicking on “Download ebooks,” by going directly to, or by going into the Overdrive or Libby app and searching for your local library.

You will need to have an active Pioneerland library card in order to check out our downloadable books.  So your first step is to get a library card, if you don’t have one.  If you have never had a card with us before, or if it was so many years ago that you’re no longer in our system, visit one of our libraries and bring along your driver’s license or Minnesota ID.  If you have moved and the address on your ID isn’t current, also bring a piece of mail delivered to you at your current address, 
something with your name on it, as proof of address.  You’ll also fill out a one-page application. Kids under age 18 need to have a parent or legal guardian accompany them to the library to get the card and sign the application, since the parent is the responsible party for a minor and kids normally don’t have an ID. 

Your first library card is free.  It takes about five minutes to get your card set up.
If you have had a library card in the recent past but you have lost it, visit the library and let us know that you need a replacement card.  We’ll ask to see your photo ID to look up your account.  A replacement library card costs $3.

If you still have that blue library card but you haven’t used it in a while, bring it to the library or call us with your card in hand, and ask us to check on whether your card needs updating.  Everyone’s account needs to be updated annually in person at the library, even if they have been using it to check things out.  When we update your card, we take another look at your ID, so bring that along.

This would be a good time to visit the library and spend a few minutes getting your card ready to use.  If you end up needing to stay home for a while, you may need some entertainment – and our ebooks are free to use.  You can’t even get overdue fees on them.  After three weeks, if you don’t return them, they will return themselves. 

There is a limit of five downloadable books on each library card at one time.  You can return them early to make them available to other people and to free up a slot on your account for a different title. 
Downloadable books work like print books in one sense: the library pays for each copy, and only one person can check out a copy at one time.  So if someone else has an ebook checked out, you will need to add yourself to the waiting list.  You’ll be notified by email when the book is available for you to check out.

Our digital book collection offers titles for all ages and interests.  You can check out books to entertain and educate the kids or yourself.  When you’re preparing for some possible time sequestered at home, remember that a library card is a great tool to get now.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Access the library's online resources with an active library card!

Did you know that you can check out e-books and downloadable audiobooks at home if you have an active library card? If it has been a while since you've used your card, stop in with that card and your driver's license and we'll update you for the year. If you don't have a library card, come in with your license, or if you've moved recently, a photo ID and a piece of mail delivered to you at your current address. In about 5 minutes we can get you set up with a card, which is free if you haven't had one before. Kids under 18 need to come in with a parent or guardian to get a library card.

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Library is Going To The Dogs!

 By Jan Pease

This Saturday, March 14, several teams of dogs and owners from Therapy Dogs International will visit Litchfield Library at 10:00. 
The Dassel Enterprise Dispatch explained our local chapter last year in their list of organizations in the Dassel area. “Therapy Dogs International (TDI) is a volunteer group organized to provide qualified handlers and their therapy dogs for visitations to institutions, facilities, and other places where there is a need. The non-profit organization was founded in 1976, and is headquartered in Flanders, NJ. TDI Chapter 252 includes Meeker, McLeod, Kandiyohi, and Wright Counties, and is based out of Hutchinson. Currently, there are 11 active members in the area including members from Dassel, Cokato, Lester Prairie, Hutchinson, Litchfield, Willmar, Howard Lake, and Stewart. Contacts are Robin Bucholz at 612-655-6053 or; and Char Gatz at 612-203-7829”

The official name for TDI dogs that listen to children read is “Tail Waggin’ Tutors.” I love that these volunteer owners are willing to bring these sweet dogs into the library.  Children gain confidence in reading with a patient, gentle dog beside them.  Children who aren’t comfortable around animals often have a positive experience being near these well-taught dogs. When the dogs visit Litchfield Library, we always talk about how to meet a dog and what to do if a dog is not friendly. 

Would your dog be a candidate to be a registered therapy dog?  What are the requirements? According to the TDI website, “A Therapy Dog must have an outstanding temperament. This means that the dog should be outgoing and friendly to all people; men, women, and children. The dog should be tolerant of other dogs (of both genders) and non-aggressive toward other pets. Before you consider having your dog evaluated, you should ask yourself if your dog has these qualities.”

Dogs need basic and intermediate obedience experience. They are tested by evaluators and must pass thirteen tests. Take a look at the brochure from the TDI website:

The library can print you a copy of the TDI brochures if you’re interested. I know my little dog, Gracie, would not be able to pass the tests even though she is a well-behaved dog.    

I enjoy having the therapy dogs visit the library.  My special dog-friend, Hazel, will be there on March 14th.  Hazel gets so silly about being at the library (and seeing me) that she forgets her training, and just loves and loves and loves.  This has been going on for four or five years.  Three other teams are expected, so bring children or grandchildren and enjoy a visit with TDI chapter 252.  See you at the library!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Get ready for the census!

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

The U.S. Constitution directs the federal government to conduct a census every ten years, which it has done since 1790 when George Washington was president.  This year it’s time to do the census again, and it is our civic duty to fill it out.  

It also helps us and our communities when we fill it out.  Minnesota is at risk of losing a Representative to Congress, especially if we’re undercounted because people who live here don’t fill out the census.  Funding for so many things depends on an accurate count: highways, Medicare, student loans and grants, school lunches, Head Start, USDA business loans, and countless other things.  It’s your own tax money coming back to your own community, and one uncounted person could mean a loss of $28,000 in funding over the next ten years.  Businesses look at population data when deciding where to open a location, so it’s good for community development if everyone is counted. 

 There are both new and familiar things about how the census will work this year, and libraries are partnering with the Census Bureau to help you get the information you need about the process.
The first thing I think you need to know is the timeline for this.  Mailings will start going out on March 12, so it will begin soon. April 1 is considered Census Day; by that date, you should have gotten mail that directs you to fill out the census, unless you get your mail at a post office box.  Whether you fill out your census before, on, or after that day, you should base your answers on where you live on April 1; if you’re a snowbird, use the address where you live for more than six months of the year.  Between May and July, census workers will visit the homes of people who have not yet filled out their census another way.

The big change this year is that the census can be done online.  You will get a mailing with a code that you can use to fill out the form online at the website.  If you would like to fill out the census online but you don’t have internet access, you can come to a public library to use a computer.  All four libraries in Meeker County (Litchfield, Dassel, Grove City, and Cosmos) are registered to be Questionnaire Assistance Centers, which means that our staff will have gone through basic training to  help you and that we have public computers available for you to use to complete your form.

If you don’t feel comfortable filling out your census online, you have options.  You will be able to request a printed form or a visit from a census employee if you would prefer that.  You will be able to call the official census number to give your answers over the phone.  If you wait a few weeks without filling it out online, a paper form will automatically be mailed to you (again, only if you get your mail at home instead of at a PO box).  And if you don’t fill it out either online or by mail, a census worker will visit you in May or later, just like census workers visited your great-grandparents, if they lived in the United States back then. 

Be careful to check that the website you go to is a .gov address, so that it’s legitimate.  You will not get an email asking you to fill out the census, so don’t follow links in any emails that claim to be from the census.  The Census Bureau will not call you to ask you to fill out the census, although they may call you to follow up on questions you didn’t answer.  Look carefully at the printed form you get to be sure it’s really the census.  And look at the badge that a census worker is wearing if they visit your home.  If you want to confirm that someone who comes to your door is a local census worker, you can call 800-923-8282 to check.

The Census Bureau will never ask for your Social Security number, your bank account or credit card numbers, money, or donations.  They will not ask anything about your political views or include information about a political party. 

There will not be a long form for the census this year, so you will not get a long list of detailed questions.  Everyone will get about ten simple questions about their address, the names of people who live in their home, their relationships to the person filling it out, their ages, and their race and ethnicity.  There is not a citizenship question on the census, and it is up to you to answer the questions as you choose and even to skip some, although skipping questions will likely lead to a census employee following up with you. 

The individual information you enter on the census is protected data.  The Census Bureau cannot share those details with anyone, even other parts of the federal government, for 72 years.  In 72 years, or 172 years, your descendants may be grateful for the details about you that they can access.  In the meantime, no one can see it. 

I’ve been through several trainings about this year’s census, and I’ve met with the committee that’s working to get a complete count of Meeker County.  I am not a census employee, and the rest of the library staff are not either.  But we will be glad to help you find the information you need about the census, even if sometimes that’s just finding the best way to put you in touch with the experts at the census helpline. 

I know it can be scary to share your personal information, and that it can be intimidating to know how to fill out the census.  But it is essential to our community, and you can fill it out in the way you prefer.  Stop in to talk to me at the library if you have questions.  Everyone counts!