Local Author Event: Krystle Greene

Local author Krystle Greene will be holding an event in the Litchfield Library meeting room on Thursday, May 9th, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. She will be talking about and reading from her children’s book Affirmations from A to Z. She will also have fun activities for kids, and she’ll sign her books. No need to sign up – drop in!

Adult Arts & Crafts April program: Wooden sign

This month’s project for the Adult Arts & Crafts program will be a wooden sign. The program will be held on Thursday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting room.

Space is limited, so sign up by calling the library at 320-693-2483 or stopping in. Free to attend and all supplies are provided. Adults only.

The design may vary from the example on the poster.

Farewell to the Litchfield Independent Review

by Beth Cronk, Meeker County Librarian

It is with sadness that I write this column, my final one in the soon-to-cease Independent Review. I have been a columnist for the newspaper since I became the Litchfield Library’s head librarian thirteen years ago, taking over from previous head librarian Jeanette Stottrup. I can’t lie: it has been a bit like a constant homework assignment, with an essay to write every other week. But it has also been a wonderful opportunity for me and for the library.

The newspaper has allowed me to reach the people who then showed up to restart our wonderful Friends of the Litchfield Library group. It has given me the opportunity to tell the general public about new books, and I have enjoyed it immensely when people would come in and say to me, “I read your article; can I get that book you talked about?”  The column has been a way to share all types of library news, whether about programs, new technology, updated policies, or any other developments.

I know people have read my column through the years, because I have heard from them about the things they learned from it. People have also come into the library talking about the columns written by the Litchfield children’s librarian, who has taken turns with me to write the weekly article: Jan Pease, Rachelle Golde, and now Rachel Clark, during the years I have worked at the library. From what I can find in the library records, it appears that there has been a Litchfield Library column in the Independent Review since the 1980s.

One of the lasting joys for me personally is that having a regular column in the local newspaper allowed me to become a part of history. Newspapers become part of the historical record. At the library, we have microfilm of the Litchfield Independent back to the 1800s, and I help people view those reels regularly. People most often look for family history, but they also seek out community history. Newspapers help us find details about the past, gathered at the time things happened, rather than based on someone’s memory later.

The mother of a close friend of mine wrote a column for her Wisconsin hometown paper for many years. After her mom died last year, my friend went to the microfilm collection at her hometown library and found her mom’s writings. Her mother was part of the archives of her local history, and her children still have access to the things she wrote.

I don’t know how Litchfield or Hutchinson happenings will be recorded and archived going forward, or how people will find a central, reliable source of information on current local events, other than the radio station. This is an issue in so many communities these days as newspapers are shut down. No one is archiving social media or the ever-changing websites run by multiple organizations. We will all need to be mindful of finding the facts of local news instead of just believing the rumors that inevitably spread in any community.

According to the Associated Press in late 2023, the United States has lost one-third of its newspapers and two-thirds of its newspaper journalists since 2005. Most of these were weekly publications in areas with few or no other sources for news, with rural and impoverished areas affected the most. Studies have shown that the absence of a reliable local news source increases political polarization and misinformation, and that a void in news coverage allows more political corruption, which can result when there are no journalists covering local government. This concern is bigger than just Litchfield and Hutchinson, and it’s not the fault of our local newspapers. It’s a troubling trend for our entire country.

I would like to thank the staff of the Independent Review and the Leader for their many years of excellent work. Editor Brent Schacherer produced newspapers of outstanding quality, and I’m grateful for the years of service he gave the community. I wish him and his staff well as they transition to life after the end of these newspapers.

To find out what’s happening at the library going forward, visit our website at www.litchfield.lib.mn.us. We update it often, and we have started creating a monthly events calendar that’s posted on the “Library Calendar” tab of that site. You can pick up a paper version of the calendar at the front desk. The library also has a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and a TikTok account; just make sure you’re looking at the Litchfield Library in Minnesota, since there are Litchfields all over the country that have libraries!

And, of course, you can always stop in and take a look at all of the new books, DVDs, and CDs at the library, as well as the flyers about upcoming library events. There is a community bulletin board in the copy room where anyone can post a flyer, so that’s another source of printed information about events happening in the community.

It has been my privilege to speak to you through this column for so many years. Thank you for reading!

MNLINK Changes Coming

On Tuesday, April 30, MNLINK will change. You will still be able to request items from libraries across the state, but regular users will notice that the website is different. That’s because MNLINK is moving to a new software platform.

While it will look a bit different, under the hood the service is still the same. You’ll continue to use your library barcode and PIN to log in and make requests. However, please be aware that any requests made prior to the transition won’t appear on the new system when you log in. Rest assured that library staff will be working behind the scenes to fulfill those requests.

In preparation for the move, your MNLINK requests are temporarily limited to 10 items per card beginning March 25. Renewals to out of system items are also suspended at this time.  As with any software change, it’s likely there will be a few bumps in the road.  We’re doing all we can to help the process go smoothly, and appreciate your patience.

If you haven’t discovered MNLINK yet, this is a great time to start. All you need is your library card and PIN to access a wide array of collections beyond your local library.

Adult Winter Reading Program Prize Winners

This year’s Adult Winter Reading Program is done. 121 people participated at the Litchfield Library this year! So much reading happened this winter. 🙂

A prize drawing was done from the reading logs that were completed with 6 books read and reviewed. Congratulations to Tiffany S., Irene S., and Kevin N. for having their names drawn! Thank you to the Friends of the Litchfield Public Library for sponsoring the gift certificates to Jomas Hill Vineyard, Papa’s Sweet Tooth, and Natural Food Co-op.

If you didn’t get a book bag when you signed up for the reading program, let library staff know if you still want one; a few more became available later.

Smokey Bear Turns 80

by Miss Rachel

You might remember the Disney film “Bambi” for its heartbreaking family story. But did you know that in 1942, Disney loaned the characters to the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention program (CFFP) for one year? After that year was up, the CFFP program needed to find a mascot all their own. They came up with the classic Smokey Bear.

This March, we are celebrating Smokey Bear’s 80th birthday at the library. We want to engage our young patrons in reading about wildfire prevention, forests, and natural resource careers, while exploring the local environment.

On March 27th at 4:00pm, Interpretive Naturalist Savannah Stephenson will be at the Litchfield Public Library. Kids of all ages are welcome to come and learn about the difference between controlled burns and wildfires. Additionally, attendees will get the chance to observe different prairie plant roots to see why some plants survive fire better than others.

For the month of March, kids can participate in the Smokey Bear Reading Challenge here at the library. Kids can complete different activities centered around reading and learning about nature to earn points. Once they’ve earned 8 points, they can come in for a prize. Attending storytimes and the event on March 26th are also worth points for the challenge.

We have plenty of books that qualify for the Smokey Bear Reading Challenge. Come take a look at some of our newest additions!

If you’re interested in reading more specifically about wildfires, we have several new books for young readers. “They Hold the Line: Wildfires, Wildlands, and the Firefighters Who Brave Them” by Dan Paley is a nonfiction picture book that informs readers about how firefighters take on the deadly natural disasters. “Wildfire!” by Ashley Wolff is another picture book that shows the hardships that the animals face when fire breaks out on Spruce Mountain. For fans of graphic novels, “Wildfire” by Breena Bard follows the story of young Julianna whose home is destroyed in a wildfire. How can Julianna move on from this devastation?

Young science explorers might be intrigued by the book “Search for a Giant Squid: Pick Your Path” by Amy Seto Forrester. Readers start out by picking their submersible, then their pilot and dive site, and continue on their exciting adventure. Packed with facts and terminology from the field, young readers can learn a lot from this venture.

Not everyone wants to read nonfiction, and for those readers, I suggest “a slightly scientific fairy tale” by Sandra Fay called “The Three Little Tardigrades.” For those who don’t know, tardigrades are more commonly known as moss piglets or water bears. With a Big Hairy Wolf Spider as the villain, this story is somewhat reminiscent of the story of the three little pigs. Perhaps the familiarity and the slightly scientific take may be just right for your next read with your young reader.

Smokey Bear continues to remind us to that “Only you can prevent forest fires.” Come to the library with your young readers throughout March to celebrate his 80th birthday.

“About the Campaign.” Smokey Bear, 4 Aug. 2021, smokeybear.com/en/smokeys-history/about-the-campaign.

Knitting Club

Litchfield Library has a Knitting Club that meets once a month on the 4th (occasionally 5th) Thursday of the month from 12:30-1:30 pm in the meeting room. Bring your knitting or crochet project to work on alongside others, and get advice from an experienced knitter. For all ages. No need to sign up.

December 28
January 25
February 29 (note this is the 5th Thursday of the month)
March 28
April 25
May 23

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