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, January 31, 2020

The language of music

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

In 1835, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”  In a music review written 55 years later, George Bernard Shaw said, “Though music be a universal language, it is spoken with all sorts of accents.”  Certainly music comes in such a vast variety, and there are types that are easier and more challenging for each of us to listen to.

The big winner at the Grammys recently was Billie Eilish, who won best new artist plus the awards for album, song, record, pop vocal album, and pop solo performance.  I like to stay current on pop music, but I have to admit I don’t understand the 18-year-old’s style, which The Atlantic describes as “whispery goth pop.”  But of course, music has always evolved by pushing the boundaries and becoming incomprehensible to most middle-aged people.  If you’d like to listen to Eilish’s album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? you can borrow it from Cosmos Library, one of the four libraries I order materials for.

Litchfield Library has Father of the Bride by the band Vampire Weekend, the winner of the Grammy for alternative music album.  It was also nominated for best album, losing to Billie Eilish.  This is the second alternative music album award the group has won, after Modern Vampires of the City in 2013.

If country music is more your speed, you can check out Ride Me Back Home, Willie Nelson’s latest album, at Litchfield Library.  Nelson won the Grammy last Sunday for best country solo performance for the song “Ride Me Back Home,” which is on the album.  This is the country music legend’s tenth Grammy win; his first was in 1975.

Another of this year’s awards for country music went to the duo Dan + Shay: best country duo/group performance for the song “Speechless.”  Dassel Library has the CD the song appears on, the self-titled album Dan + Shay, which you can order to have picked up in any public library. 

Over at Dassel Library, you can also check out the soundtrack album for A Star is Born featuring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.  This album won the Grammy for best compilation soundtrack for visual media.  The song “Shallow” from this movie was a huge hit for most of last year. 

Litchfield Library also has new books about music.   Rob Kapilow is a composer, a conductor, and a host of an NPR music program.  His new book Listening for America: Inside the Great American Songbook from Gershwin to Sondheim explores the work of eight musical theater composers: Kern, Porter, Gershwin, Arlen, Berlin, Rodgers, Bernstein, and Sondheim.  He celebrates their songs while also analyzing the issues of race, immigration, sexuality, and cultural appropriation in them that reflect America in the eras in which they were composed.

For a broader look at music and culture over time, pick up the book Music: A Subversive History by Ted Gioia.  The author analyzes 4000 years of Western musical history from the perspective of slaves, revolutionaries, and common people, rather than focusing on the mainstream musicians who were the most successful and recognizable.  Booklist magazine calls it “a sweeping and enthralling account of music as an agency of human change.”

Whether we’re talking about what makes a song exceptional or we’re just singing along for fun, we can enjoy music in a variety of ways.  I hope the things you check out at the library will put a song in your heart.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Of Family Treasures and Treasures that are Cats!

By Jan Pease

My Grandpa Hilary built houses, roofed barns, wired farms for electricity, and made simple furniture, mostly dressers and wooden chests.  In his later years he made little birdhouses that looked like outhouses, but that’s another story.  The furniture “Pop” made was plain but very functional.  My mom had 3 dressers that he made; I have two dressers and a small chest.  My brother and I each received birdhouse/outhouses when we were children.  These are all priceless.  Not valuable, but priceless.

One of our new children’s books reminds me of family treasures.  Melanie Heuiser Hill has written a cumulative tale (think, “This is the House that Jack Built”) titled “Around the Table that Grandad Built.”  Everything on or around the table evokes a memory, from the glasses that were a wedding gift to the sunflowers from the garden.  I like this book because it is a Thanksgiving story, but doesn’t perpetuate the popular but inaccurate myths about the holiday.

Is there anything cuter than baby humans or baby animals?  “A Baby like You,” by Catherine Thimmesh, celebrates the cutest of the cute.  We read this one at Toddler Time, and the little ones loved it.  We are enjoying a four-month-old kitten at our house, and he has breathed in new life into the life of the three humans, tiny dog, and 18-year-old cat that share our home.   Gracie the dog isn’t so sure, even if the kitten is cute.

If you ask people who don’t like cats why they don’t like them, sometimes the response is “Because they aren’t like dogs.”  Mike Boldt has written and illustrated a book, “Bad Dog,” about a girl who wants a dog but gets a cat for her birthday.  She insists that her pet, Rocky, is a dog. But Rocky doesn’t come when she’s called.  She hates her leash.  Rocky doesn’t like other dogs and she won’t play fetch. This book is a funny look at the differences between cats and dogs. 


My friend Carole Wendt visited story time January 24th, to read stories with me “reader’s theater” style.  We read the new book by Constance Lombardo, “Everybody Says Meow.”  The characters in
the story, all cats to begin with, are joined by a dog, a frog, and a duck that refuse to follow a simple direction: “Let’s all say meow.” 

Finally, there is a new book that directly addresses the situation at my house, “The New Kitten,” by Joyce Carol Oates.  Yes, that Joyce Carol Oates who is a famous writer.  She loves cats.  This picture book tells the story of Cherie, a beautiful cat who is used to being an only kitty.  Her owners bring home a kitten named Cleopatra, and sibling rivalry breaks loose.  Our Gizmo looks like a fuzzy version of Cleopatra, and he also can’t resist a tail on an old cat.

Whether you are interested in family treasures, cute baby animals, or interesting cats, you will find something to read at Litchfield Public library.  See you there!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

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:  2-8 pm Wednesdays and 9:45-1:30 pm Thursdays.   Additional subbing as needed.
Applications available at the library or  Submit applications by Feb. 5 to:
Beth Cronk
Litchfield Public Library
P.O. Box 220
Litchfield MN 55355
Phone: (320)693-2483

Snowed-out book sale rescheduled

The Friends of the Litchfield Library book sale has been rescheduled to Saturday, January 25.  Visit the library's meeting room from 10-2 to shop for a wide variety of used books!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The library will be closed on Monday, January 20, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Census hiring event cancelled for 1/18

The US Census hiring table that was scheduled for Saturday, January 18, has been cancelled because of the weather forecast.

Book sale cancelled

The Friends of the Litchfield Library book sale scheduled for January 18 has been cancelled due to the weather.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Friends of the Litchfield Public Library meeting

The Friends of the Library will meet at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21, in the library meeting room.  New members are always welcome.

Information table about census jobs

A representative from the U.S. Census Bureau will be available at an information table at the Litchfield Public Library from 10 am to 1 pm on Friday, January 24. Learn about how to apply for one of thousands of temporary 2020 census jobs.

Census results determine how funds are spent on roads, schools, and hospitals, as well as the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Pay for Meeker County census workers starts at $19 per hour. Information is also available at

NOTE: the event scheduled for Saturday, January 18, has been cancelled due to the weather forecast.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Maker Space snowflakes

Snow is Falling, Books are Calling

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

This year’s adult winter reading program has begun, with the theme “Snow is Falling, Books are Calling.”  Our winter reading program is intended to encourage and reward reading by adults during this cold and snowy time of year, like we do with the kids during the summer.
Sign up between now and March to participate, and you’ll get a red and black buffalo plaid-accented book bag while supplies last.  You’ll also get a stack of book review forms and a card for keeping track of the reviews you turn in.

When you turn in a short book review for something you read between the day you sign up and the end of March, library staff will stamp your card.  When you’ve turned in three, you can choose a small prize.  When you’ve turned in three more, you can choose another prize, plus we’ll put your completed card into a drawing.  The Friends of the Litchfield Public Library sponsors three gift certificates to local businesses for that drawing.  The program can be completed only one time per person.

The small prize choices this year include a mug, a book light, a phone charger adapter for the car, a large candy bar, buffalo plaid earrings, and a mouse pad.  As always, these are the choices while supplies last – although we won’t run out of candy bars. 

You can read anything you like for the program.  It doesn’t have to be a library book or something new.  You choose what you’d like to read.  It can even be an ebook or audiobook – that’s still a form of reading!

The book review forms are short, with no spot for a name, so they’re anonymous once you turn them in.  We set them in a basket at the front desk, and you are welcome look through them to find out which books our library users recommend or don’t recommend.

So once you sign up, what should you read?  I have a list of the most popular books in Pioneerland Library System last year, which is almost like a recommendation from the thousands of people who use the libraries in our region.  The most popular book of the year was “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens.  That novel about a girl abandoned to grow up alone in the marshlands of North Carolina was published in August 2018 and is still in high demand in our library system and around the country.

The other top adult novels of the year were “Wolf Pack” by C.J. Box, “Neon Prey” by John Sandford, “The 18th Abduction” by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah, “Every Breath” by Nicholas Sparks, “Someone Knows” by Lisa Scottoline, “Long Road to Mercy” by David Baldacci, “Holy Ghost” by John Sandford, and “The Boy” by Tami Hoag.

The adult nonfiction books with the most checkouts in Pioneerland in 2019 were “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, “Educated” by Tara Westover, “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis, “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis, “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann, “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance, “Love Thy Neighbor” by Ayaz Virji, “The Pioneers” by David McCullough, “A Woman of No Importance” by Sonia Purnell, and “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean.

There’s no risk to signing up for the winter reading program.  We won’t call you to see if you’ve finished your books yet.  Why not challenge yourself to a goal of reading a few books this winter?  Reading books can help you be more creative, focused, and empathetic.  And in case you’ve forgotten, which many of us do when life gets busy, reading can be fun.  Like the winter reading program slogan says, books are calling to you!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Trending Now!

By Jan Pease

“Retrospection: in retrospect: thinking about or reviewing the past, especially from a new perspective or with new information.” (Encarta Dictionary: English)    I will now use the word in a sentence: I hereby declare an end to retrospection because we live life forward, not backward. 

What’s ahead in 2020?  Well, prepare for a lot of puns about perfect vision.    


Please notice that I wrote the year out, as suggested by friends on the Internet.    It’s too easy to alter a date written as 01/08/20.  I doubt it was an issue on January 8, 1920.   The teens are behind us, and now it’s time for the twenties.   Will we look back on these years as the roaring twenties?

Children’s picture books and chapter books emphasized kindness and friendship in 2019.  Betsy Bird, writing in School Library Journal, mentioned this trend.   Books about children dealing with grief, empathy and friendship were a trend in 2019 that I hope will continue.  In her article, she quotes author Celia Perez as saying “often adults just want to sit back and wait for the kids of today to grow up and save the world.”

I’ve seen a lot of unicorn hats this winter.  The staff at giant book publisher Scholastic predicts that unicorns will also show up in children’s literature this year.  Katie Carella, an executive editor at Scholastic also suggested that more slightly scary books will be popular, because children learn to process their feelings by experiencing scary things in a safe way.

Video games are more popular than ever, and they are showing up in books and as books.  At Litchfield, Minecraft books and Lego books are very popular.  Also, expect to see more strong female and diverse characters in books. 

Pugs. Yes, pugs are trending and will continue to be popular.  Are you familiar with something on Instagram called the Pugdashians?   I wasn’t, until now.  There are some funny books featuring pugs;
my favorite is probably “Pugs of the North,” by Philip Reeve.

Ms. Carella also sees a trickle-down effect in children’s books caused by the still popular “Game ofThrones.”  Stories about dragons are always in demand  in Litchfield!

Over the decades (!) I’ve worked here at the library, I’ve noticed an interesting change in the nonfiction section of the children’s department.  Nonfiction titles are not just published for children to use in writing reports, but are designed to entice children to read about real persons, places, and things.  They are colorful and attractive and about all sorts of interesting things. Expect to see even  more books about making things, and learning about sports.

Of course, any book that is standing in a display or on the shelf can be borrowed and enjoyed. 2020 is a marvelous time to be alive, and well, and reading.  See you at the library!