Science Heroes: Saving Earth Together

At storytime on Friday, July 21, science and stories collide! Two unlikely heroes must learn to work together to stop a super polluting mastermind. Throughout the story, kids will help the performer conduct amazing science experiments all about air pressure, the laws of motion, chemical reactions, and much more! This free science program presented by Talewise is geared to kids in grades K-5, and there’s no need to sign up in advance.

Summer Reading Program 2023: Find Your Voice

by Miss Rachel

Whether the weather shows it or not, summer time is almost here! With the glorious season of summer comes the Summer Reading Program here at the library. We have some exciting events and ideas to share with you.

Kids and teens can sign up to participate in the Summer Reading Program starting on June 5th. Just like last year, they will be given a bag, a book, and opportunities to earn prizes. But this year will look slightly different from last year. Instead of turning in a reading log and picking a prize, kids and teens will be given Library Loot when they turn in reading logs and challenges. From there, they can choose to spend their earned dollars on a smaller prize, or save up for something of higher value. In addition to good reading habits, we’re also working on some financial literacy skills. Challenges that can help kids earn Library Loot include reading logs, genre challenges, and bookmark challenges.

The theme of the Summer Reading Program this year is “Find Your Voice.” Does that mean you need to give a speech? Nope – it simply means do what you love. Kids are encouraged to try out fun new activities to see all the different interests that they can pursue. We’ve booked several different storytellers and experts to give kids a variety of experiences to see what they love.

On June 8th, there will be a painting class open to kids ages 5 and up. COMPAS Teaching Artist Heidi Jeub will be teaching students to create a portrait of themselves. Space for this event is limited, so make sure to sign up in advance.

For the kids and teens ages 10 and up, hip-hop artist See More Perspective is coming on June 13th at 4:30 for a workshop called “Exploring Identity through Hip-Hop and Spoken Word Poetry.” This workshop explores social identity and how it informs the choices we make as artists and as people. Students participate in activities that help illuminate their own identity and values, reflect with peers, and begin to discover their own creative voice. Space is limited for this event too, so we ask that you sign up in advance.

At our 10:00 Friday storytimes, we will have the Dairy Princesses on June 23rd and Watercade Royalty on June 30th coming to visit. Learn about dairy farms, enjoy sweet treats, do some activities, and read some great stories with all of our royal guests!

CLIMB Theatre will be performing “The Ant & the Grasshopper” for kids on Friday, July 7, at our 10:00 storytime. This mini-play supports literacy and reading readiness, so it’s especially great for young children. In this continuation of Aesop’s Fable, “The Ant and the Grasshopper,” two friends compete together in the “Find Your Voice” competition. However, hardworking Ant and playful Grasshopper are having trouble finding their harmony. With the help of Queen Bee and the audience, Ant and Grasshopper will learn to BEE kind, BEE a friend, and BEE together as they work toward creating a sound where everyone’s voice is a part of the chorus. No need to sign up for this performance.

As we continue to explore all different kinds of interests for our young readers, Monarch Joint Venture will be sending over butterfly expert Laura Molenaar for 10:00 storytime on July 14th. Come learn all about butterflies, listen to some stories, and do some fun crafts!

With all of our fun and engaging performances and demonstrations, we are keeping our storytime schedule the same as it was for the winter schedule: toddler storytime on Wednesdays indoors at 10:15 and regular storytime on Fridays at 10:00 outside as the weather permits. We will be continuing our LEGO nights and STEAM labs on the third Tuesdays of June, July, and August. Make sure to check out the details on our website or facebook page.

Summer Reading Program is a great way to get kids and teens to continue reading outside of the school year. With fun prizes as incentives, exciting guest speakers, cool crafts, STEAM labs and LEGO nights, the library is the place to be this summer. All further details about Summer Reading Program dates and times will be posted on the library’s website at or the Litchfield Library Facebook page.

Selfies Painting Class

Sign up now for the selfies painting workshop for kids and teens ages 5 to 18. It will be held in the library’s  meeting room on Thursday, June 8th, at 10:00 a.m.  COMPAS Teaching Artist Heidi Jeub will be teaching students to create a portrait of themselves.

This event is free to attend but space is limited, so make sure to sign up in advance. Adults are encouraged to stay with younger children, especially those younger than age 8.

Family Connections

by Beth Cronk

Author Alex Haley said, “In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past, [and] bridge to our future.” Several new books at the Litchfield Library explore generations of families, some fictional and some real.

Author J. Ryan Stradal grew up in Hastings, Minnesota. Although he now lives in California, he sets his novels in Minnesota. His latest is Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club. Mariel and Ned, a married couple in rural Minnesota, are both in the family restaurant business, but with two very different types of restaurants. Mariel inherited a traditional supper club from her grandmother, a local landmark that’s failing in the modern age. Ned is the heir to a successful chain of diners. After a tragedy, the pair must decide how to move forward.

Set in a different part of the country, Varina Palladino’s Jersey Italian Love Story is another novel that involves food and multiple generations of a family. Author Terri-Lynne DeFino was raised in New Jersey, although she now lives in Connecticut. In this funny novel, widowed Varina lives in the same house she grew up in, and she runs the family’s Italian specialty grocery store. Her elderly mother and her daughter hatch a plan to find Varina a husband, even though she doesn’t want to date. Meanwhile, other members of the boisterous family are planning their own life changes. This family dramedy has been compared to the movies Moonstruck and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Moving on to nonfiction, one of the library’s newest books is a memoir: Belonging: A Daughter’s Search for Identity Through Loss and Love, by Michelle Miller. Miller is a co-host of the television show CBS Saturday Morning. She was raised by her paternal grandmother and her father, a surgeon and the first Black city councilman in Compton, California. Her mother abandoned her at birth, and Miller knew nothing about her. When Miller was 22 and her father was gravely ill, he told her to find her mother – a woman who had concealed her pregnancy after an affair with him – beginning Miller’s search for answers about her heritage and history.

Another memoir, Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult is author Michelle Dowd’s story of growing up in an apocalyptic cult called the Field. Her grandfather was the head of the group, which was focused on learning to survive doomsday. Dowd lived an isolated life of deprivation as she learned survival and foraging skills, and when she got old enough to leave, she used those skills and philosophies to get out.

Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom is a thrilling true story of William and Ellen Craft, a young couple who escaped slavery through disguise. Author Ilyon Woo tells a story from history that’s unfamiliar to most, even thought the Crafts went on to become prominent abolitionist speakers who worked alongside Frederick Douglass. To flee Georgia, William posed as a wealthy, disabled white man, and Ellen acted as his slave. They rode openly in trains, steamboats, and carriages, dodging people who would recognize them. Their adventure made them celebrities, but they were no longer safe in the North once the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, and they had to flee once again.

Author Rachel Jamison Webster was surprised to discover through a DNA test that famed American Benjamin Banneker was her distant relative. Banneker was a free Black man who was a prominent mathematician, astronomer, and almanac writer. Thomas Jefferson hired him in 1791 to survey Washington, D.C.  Banneker went on to write a famous letter to Jefferson, asking the president to examine the conflict between his belief in liberty and his enslavement of people. After seeing her DNA results, Webster got in touch with other Banneker descendants and learned about generations of family history, including that of Benjamin’s grandparents, an interracial couple who married in colonial America. Benjamin Banneker and Us: Eleven Generations of an American Family is an exploration of family and American history.

Leo Tolstoy wrote, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” On the contrary, I think every family story is unique, but we can also find things that ring true for us in others’ stories. Whether they’re funny, heartwarming, or dramatic (or all of these things at once), books about families can connect us to one another.

1000 Books Before Kindergarten finisher

Congratulations to our latest finisher of the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program!
Such a huge accomplishment and a great way to build those early literacy skills!

Litchfield Library Board meeting dates

The Litchfield Library Board meets on the 4th Tuesday of January, April, July, and October at 5:30 p.m. in the library meeting room. The Litchfield Library Foundation meeting immediately follows.

This board is an advisory board to the city of Litchfield about library facility matters. Members are appointed by city council. Ex-officio members are the head librarian and a city council representative.

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