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Freegal Celebrates Women in Music

Women In Music History

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 03:52 AM PST

In celebration of Women's History Month this March, we're highlighting awe-inspiring women musicians who have brought their art to a new level. Read on and recall some former favorite tunes or discover some revolutionary sounds. All of the artists discussed below are on the Freegal site, free to download or stream with your Peoria Public Library card and PIN.

In March of 1930, Ruth Crawford became the first woman to win the Guggenheim Fellowship. The honor is given annually to individuals who have demonstrated " exceptional creative ability in the arts". The award was given for the songs she wrote that were set to poems as well as her piano and violin compositions. Ms. Crawford was radically original for her time, and one of very few women composers. She is now considered one of the most important modernist composers of the 20th century. Later in life she married Charles Seeger and became involved with the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress. Her step-son Pete Seeger is a well known folk artist. 

According to Biography.com, Eleanora Fagan had a rather arduous childhood. She was raised by a young, single mother who never had it easy. Eleanora reportedly escaped by singing along to records by Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith.  When she was a little older, she followed her mother to New York City and started singing in clubs. She gave herself the stage name "Billie" after the film star Billie Dove. At only 18 years of age, Billie was discovered by a record producer while singing in a jazz club. The Billie Holiday we all know and love then started her career.  Ms. Holiday started to work with major artists such as Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Her fame exploded when she struck out on her own. It was at that time that she recorded some of her most well known songs such as "Strange Fruit" and "God Bless The Child". "Lady Day" as she is otherwise known, is considered one of the best jazz vocalists of all time.  She has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has influenced countless musicians. 

"It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" by Kitty Wells was the first #1 country song by a woman in music history per Rolling Stone. It was released in 1952. The song topped the charts despite it's being banned on NBC Radio because it talked about a woman "living the wild side of life". The tune included the lyric "It's a shame that all the blame is on us women". The song remained in the top spot for 6 weeks and then crossed over to be a hit on  Billboard pop charts. Ms. Wells sang other top charting songs such as "Paying for That Back Street Affair" and "Hey Joe".  She paved the way for many others. More influential female singers near that time such as Patsy Cline and Brenda Lee made sure that women stayed in the country music spotlight. Contemporary vocalists such as Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, The Dixie Chicks, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood keep breaking ground with their songs.
Aretha Franklin has excelled at singing gospel, pop, and R&B  music. She also earned international acclaim for her performance of the opera aria "Nessun Dorma" at the 1998 Grammy Awards.  An 18-time Grammy winner herself, Ms. Franklin was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On Rolling Stone's list of "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time", she is ranked as #1.   Signature hits such as "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" contributed to her becoming one of the best selling musicians of all time. 



Folk musician Joan Baez is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April of this year. Ms. Baez has been performing music professionally since she first sang at the Newport Folk Festival in 1959. It did not take long for her to become successful. Her second, third and fourth albums were all certified gold. In the early to mid sixties she was on the forefront of the American roots revival. She introduced her audiences to the then unknown Bob Dylan. Outstanding folk talents such as Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris cite her as a source of inspiration. In addition to being a talented singer, she was and is a tireless activist. The artist counted Martin Luther King Jr. as one of her friends and she is one of the founding members of Amnesty International. 


As the lead singer of the psychedelic rock band 'Big Brother and The Holding Company', Janis Joplin found success. The group's 1968 record "Cheap Thrills" was regarded as a "masterpiece of psychedelic sound" according to Billboard, and it went to #1. Shortly after that record, "Pearl" as Janis Joplin was sometimes called, went out on her own. The artist was advertised as a headliner for Woodstock in 1969, where she did perform. Ms. Joplin had she had many hit singles after that. The best selling album of her career, Pearl, was released after her death. It reached #1 on Billboard charts and has been certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. It also made Rolling Stone's list of the "Greatest Albums of All Time."

Like all of the genres discussed here, rock has so many important women musicians that it is difficult to limit them: Artist Patti Smith started to become influential in the punk rock movement with her LP "Horses"; Joan Jett has been nicknamed "The Godmother of Punk" and has three albums certified platinum or gold; Stevie Nicks helped Fleetwood Mac sell over 140 million records during their music career; the music of 14-time Grammy winner Bjork spans many genres. Bjork has also made Rolling Stone's list of the "Greatest Singers of All Time" and Time Magazine's List of "The 100 Most Influential People In The World". 

Music giants such as Carole King, Whitney Houston, Cher, Beyonce and Adele often dominate the world of pop. The Guinness Book of World Records cites Ms. Houston as "the most awarded female act of all time". She is the only musician in history to have seven consecutive #1 Billboard hits. Her second LP "Whitney" was the first album by a woman to debut at number one on the charts. Carole King was the first woman to be honored with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2013. She has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Singer/Songwriter Adele has numerous mentions in the Guinness Book of World Records. Her LP '21' has spent more time at #1 on Billboard charts than any album by a female singer in music history. Her hit song "Hello" became the first single to sell a million digital copies in the United States within a week of release. At the 2017 Grammys she won more awards than any artist this year including"Album of The Year" and "Song of The Year". 



Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day

by Amanda Doyle

On March 17th, the whole world celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. But March is so much more than just St. Patrick’s Day! March is Irish Heritage Month. Nearly 34.5 million Americans say they have some Irish heritage.  The Irish are known for their hard-working attitude as well as their colorful phrases.  In this month’s blog post, we’ll share some of the more humorous sayings, slang, and curses.

·        “Hello, how are you?” – “What’s the craic?”

·        “Off you go.” – “On yer bike.”

·        “Everything is good.” – “I’m pullin the devil by the tail.”

·        Reaction to something shocking/funny- “Ah be da Jaysus.”

·        A cup of tea- “Cup of scald

·        “Be careful!”  – “Sleep with yer good eye open.”

·        “I have something to tell you.”- “C’mere till I tell ye’.”

·        “Taste this.” – “Get yer laughing gear around this.”

·        Your father- “’ould fella

·        The boss- “gaffer

·        “Be Quiet.” – “Stall yer witts.” Or “Wheesht.”

·        Bed- “scratcher

·        Correct – “Bang on.”

·        “I don’t know.” – “Haven’t a baldy notion.”

·        “May you be plagues by a powerful itch and never have the nails to scratch it.”

·        “May you have a little skillet; May you have little in it. May you have to break it, To find a little bit in it.”

·        “May you find the bees but not the honey.”

·        “You’re as greedy as a leprechaun. May someone steal your pot of gold!”


All month long, Peoria Public Library is celebrating Irish Heritage Month. On Saturday, March 4 from 2:00-4:00pm, Barry Cloyd will be at the North Branch performing his “An Irish Immigrant’s Song.” Every Monday afternoon in March, from 2:00-4:00 pm, North Branch will be hosting an Irish movie- 3/4- “71”, 3/13- “In the Name of the Father”, 3/20- Angela’s Ashes, and 3/27- Quiet Man. On Saturday March 12 from 2:00-4:00pm, Music in the McKenzie will have the Irish/Celtic folk band “Turas.” 

There will also be a display in the Local History and Genealogy department on Irish Immigration and a display in the Wheeler Case about Irish Coffin Ships.  For more information please visit our website: www.peoriapubliclibrary.org     


May the road rise up to meet you.” 

Harry Potter Book Read Night

Whether we first fell into the wizarding world through her written words, or were spellbound by the visuals of those words made into movies; JK Rowling has undeniably brought magic into the world. It’s been 20 years since we were first introduced to the “boy who lived,” and still we commemorate  this epic tale that begins with the line, “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number 4, Privet Drive were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”  Between movies, theme parks, plays, and a spin-off series, Muggles and No-Majs alike are VERY aware of the magic around us.

Working our own magic, on Thursday February 2, our Lakeview Branch will host a Harry Potter Book Read Night, part of an international event,  from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Grab your books and your floo powder, and come celebrate with us. Call to reserve your spot, (309) 497-2143 and practice your swish and flick. Study hard for that History of Magic test and get your selfie with Dobby. We will have discussions, crafts, and more. Don’t miss out on this magical night!  

Tea Time January 12 Explores Tea Facts

     As we are firmly into the winter season and the temperature drops, we often look to ways to warm ourselves.  One of the best and tastiest ways is with a hot cup of tea to wrap our chilled hands around.  There are endless facts and tidbits out there about teas but here are ten fun facts to warm your mind while you enjoy while you sip at your tea. 
1. You need about 2,000 tiny leaves to make one pound of finished tea.  Tea plants grow in        the wild in parts of Asia but they can also be planted and farmed.  The best teas comes          from high elevations and are hand-picked. (1)
2. Tea didn’t reach Europeans until the late 16th century.  People in the Middle East and            Asia have been using ceramic teapots and drinking tea for over 11,000 years. (1)
3. Britain is the 2nd largest drinking nation with Ireland being the largest.  The US drinks         1.42 million pounds of tea every day. (2)
4. Earl Grey tea was named after a 19th century British diplomat to China. (3)
5. Legend tells that tea was discovered in China, in 2737 BCE, by Emperor Shen Nung.  A       few tea leaves had fallen into his boiling pot of water.  The habit of drinking steeped tea       leaves became popular later in the Ming Dynasty (13-68-1644.) (4)
6. Herbal infusions are not considered teas but are actually tisanes. (5)
7. In the US, the Northeast and South have the most tea drinkers. (6)
8. It takes about three years for a new tea plant to be ready to harvest. But it takes between       four and twelve years for it to start producing seeds.  Also, at least fifty inches of rain a       year is needed for plants. (6)
9. Tea is not just for drinking.  It helps to heal shaving cuts, can be used as a marinade for         meat, is a great fertilizer for roses, and is also good for cleaning floors.  (7)
10. In 2014, a tea company in Saudi Arabia set the Guinness World Record for largest tea           bad made.  It weighed in at just over 551 lbs and was 9.8’ wide by 13’ high.  That                  teabag could be used to brew over 100,000 cups of tea.  (8)

If you’d like to know more fun facts about tea or just have a fun afternoon with other tea lovers, join us on Thursday Jan 12th from 3:00-4:00pm at the North Branch for our Cozy Adult Tea Time program.  We’ll talk about different tea rituals and tea etiquette, as well as learn more fun facts about tea. 

1. http://www.romantichomes.com/10-fun-facts-about-tea
2. http://www.notimeliketeatime.com/26-interesting-facts-about-tea/
3. http://www.teaanswers.com/tea-facts-trivia/
4. http://www.therighttea.com/facts-about-tea.html
5. http://she-tea.com.au/7-interesting-facts-about-tea/
6. http://www.spinfold.com/amazing-facts-about-tea
7. http://www.finedininglovers.com/stories/tea-facts/
8. http://www.yourteahq.com/tea-fun-facts/

E-Read Illinois Adds Browser-Based Reading

On December 5, Baker & Taylor released a browser-based reader for Axis 360 e-books to eRead Illinois libraries that allows users to access e-books from their browser without having to download any additional apps or software. The reader is compatible with Chromebooks through the Chrome browser and with Mac and Windows based computers through Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. eRead Illinois libraries will be among the first in the country to have access to the browser-based reader. This is particularly helpful for schools and others that want to read on a computer, not a device. For help, call (309) 497-2000.

Two named to Lincoln Branch Hall of Fame

Peoria Public Library Lincoln Branch Hall of Fame has its first two inductees and they will be honored by the Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees, staff, family and friends during a ceremony on Tuesday, November 15 at 4:00 p.m. at Lincoln Branch.
Being honored are Henry Pindell Slane and Kathleen Powers Ditewig. Slane, who headed the Peoria Journal Star for more than 30 years, made the largest contribution on record to Peoria Public Library, donating $500,000 to repair Lincoln Branch inside and out in 1993. Ditewig, an ordinary citizen of the Lincoln Branch neighborhood, ran a massive grass roots campaign in 1970 that rallied the masses and convinced the Library Board to keep the branch open after its imminent closure was announced.
In order to honor the extraordinary dedication of the many who stepped up when Lincoln Branch was in need, the Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees established a Hall of Fame in March of 2016. Lincoln Branch, an original Carnegie Library, has survived for over 100 years continuously as a library and has been completely renovated and restored and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The Branch offers a wide variety of programs and materials for all ages and serves as an anchor for the neighborhood. In 2016, almost 100,000 people had visited the branch by the end of October.
The Lincoln Branch Hall of Fame will have plaques on the wall of the Carnegie Room to memorialize the contributions of Hall of Fame inductees. The public is invited to attend the ceremony.

What Do You Think About the Opiate Abuse Epidemic?

Talk with other concerned citizens about Peoria's opiate abuse epidemic at one of four discussions moderated by Mike Kennedy, president and CEO of the Human Service Center.

• Saturday, October 22 from 1:00 to 2:15 p.m. at Peoria Public Library Main Library Auditorium

• Wednesday, November 2 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. at Peoria Public Library Lakeview Branch Lakeview Room

• Monday, November 7 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. at Peoria Public Library North Branch McKenzie Room

• Thursday, November 17 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. at Peoria Public Library Lincoln Branch Hot Air Balloon Room

To attend any of these discussions, please contact Roberta Koscielski at 309-497-2186 or RobertaKoscielski@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us.


These programs were funded by an Illinois Speaks micro-grant from the Illinois Humanities Council and are designed to support efforts to understand and find solutions for the heroin and opiate epidemic that is occurring locally.

“The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, the IHC, our partnering organizations or our funders.”

Meet Author Jordon Sonnenblick on September 28

Award-winning author Jordan Sonnenblick is coming to Peoria! Winner of the 2008 Rebecca Caudill Award for Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie, Mr. Sonnenblick has written numerous books for teens and younger readers, including Dodger and Me, Notes from the Midnight Driver, and Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip. His newest book, Falling Over Sideways will be released on September 27. Mr. Sonnenblick will be at the Main Library on Wednesday, September 28 at 6:30 p.m. to talk about his latest book and meet readers of all ages.  Copies of Falling Over Sideways and other titles will be available for sale and signing. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will help support the Friends of Peoria Public Library. Learn more about Jordan Sonnenblick on his website.

Summer Reading Success

Another year of Summer Reading has been wrapped up! Peoria Public Library engaged almost 4, 000 readers of all ages in the seven week program that required just three hours a week of reading. Each week readers received a small weekly prize, ranging from magnetic bookmarks to chip clips to small pouches and ice cream coupons. Almost 1,000 summer readers who read at least six weeks then enjoyed a night out at Peoria Riverfront Museum and Caterpillar Visitor Center. They explored life as an astronaut, saw The Street, enjoyed the Planetarium and climbed in and out of enormous earth-moving machines -- all with wildly painted faces and fantastic balloon hats and animals. The program was made possible by the Friends of Peoria Public Library and many, many other generous sponsors. Summer Reading starts again next June, be sure to join us!

Free Library Apps Make Use Easy

Many of the online services from Peoria Public Library are now available through apps for your smartphone or tablet that you can download from the Playstore or the App Store.  Try Freegal Music and Freegal Movies for entertainment wherever you are.  To download e-books or audio books anytime of the day or night, look for the Axis360 and Overdrive apps. Take language learning with you wherever you go with the Mango Language app! Learn 60 languages, including English for ESL learners. Brainfuse homework help also now has an app. Students of all ages can set up an account on a computer and then use it on their tablet or phone. Brainfuse has live one-on-one tutoring and a wide variety of resources for students of all ages. Get an app today and enjoy the Peoria Public Library wherever you are!