107 NE Monroe Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070

Reading Room

Supermoon Eclipse Party!

Event: Supermoon Eclipse Party
Date & Time: Sun., Sept. 27, 6 - 10:30 p.m.
Location: Northmoor Observatory & Donovan Park · 5805 N. Knoxville Ave. · Peoria, Ill.
Cost: Free and open to the public (all ages)
Sunday’s supermoon is undergoing a super-rare lunar eclipse – the likes of which hasn’t been seen in 32 years. To usher in the 2015 autumnal fun, Peoria Astronomical Society, Peoria Riverfront Museum, Peoria Public Library and the Peoria Park District are celebrating by hosting a Supermoon Eclipse Party, with all events free and open to the public beginning at 6 p.m., Sun. Sept. 27 in Donovan Park.
The total lunar eclipse will cause the moon to appear an eerie orange-red because the Sun’s light waves bending around the Earth’s surface cast a red glow on the Moon, despite the Moon being fully in the Earth’s shadow. The spooky event is doubly rare because it is happening to a supermoon – or perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system – a full moon coinciding with the moon’s closet orbit to the Earth (which, to our eyes, makes the moon look larger).
The event promises fun for all ages with moon stories and activities (until dark), a Moon Walk Contest, moon music and the guided observation of the supermoon’s total eclipse, as the big moon rises and then moves into the Earth’s shadow.
NorthMoor Observatory will also be open and a variety of other telescopes will be on site for close-ups of the night sky. Peoria Astronomical Society members and Riverfront Museum Dome Planetarium staff will be on hand to answer questions about the eclipse and astronomy in general.
Events begin at 6 p.m., moonrise is at 6:40 p.m., sunset is at 6:47 p.m., and the eclipse begins at 8:07 and ends at 11:27 p.m., with the entire moon eclipsed from 9:11 to 10:23 p.m. The event is free, but event officials recommend bringing a blanket or chair, binoculars (not necessary), a flashlight and snacks.
As with all astronomical events, the Supermoon Eclipse Party is weather dependent. In the event of full cloud cover or inclement weather, the Riverfront Museum will post on its web homepage and Facebook page a notice of cancellation along with a link to allow viewers to watch the eclipse live via NASA TV.
The public may call the Peoria Public Library at 309-497-2143 or the Dome Planetarium at 309-863-3030 with any questions. For more information, visit RiverfrontMuseum.org.

Tickets Now On Sale for What's Your Story 135th Anniversary Celebration

 “What’s Your Story,” a celebration,  to honor 135 years of Peoria Public Library, will be held on Monday, October 12 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Peoria Public Library Main Library at 107 N.E. Monroe in Peoria and will feature New York Times bestselling author Melanie Benjamin as well as many other events.

            The evening will include two chances to hear the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife, Melanie Benjamin along with Book Talks by interesting Peorians, hors d’oeuvres from Cracked Pepper, a cash wine bar, birthday cake, art displays, the Peoria Jazz AllStars, silent auction and more.

            “What’s Your Story” is based on the idea that books and the Peoria Public Library have had an enormous influence on our community in the past 135 years, so 135 of our citizens were asked to write about the book that was the biggest influence on them. Those choices will be revealed at the event.  Single admission tickets are $35, a ticket that includes a hardbound copy of The Aviator’s Wife is $60. A “Book Club” or set of 10 tickets is available at a savings for $300. Sponsorships that include special incentives are also available for the event.

            To purchase a ticket call (309) 497-2137 or email programmingdept@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us. Credit cards can be taken over the phone. Ticket orders may also be mailed with a check made out to Friends of Peoria Public Library to Programming Department at 107 NE Monroe, Peoria, 61602.  More information and order forms are available on the library website under the “Events” tab at /135-years-what-s-your-story.

Project Next Generation Brings Technology to Lincoln Branch

by Sherry Criss

In today’s society, technology has become very essential. Because it is considered mainstream, it is important that our youth sharpen their skills through an experience that will help prepare them to enter the work force. This is where Project Next Generation comes into play; mentoring and technology.

Every year since February 2002, the Peoria Public Library Lincoln Branch has been awarded the grant to implement the Project Next Generation program. This is such an exciting time for us from recruiting students to be mentors to the visit from Illinois Secretary of State and PNG founder Mr. Jesse White. Along with this grant came three brand new Dell computers, printers, cameras and computer programs. Diorama Design was among one of my personal favorites.

The program was designed for students in grades 5-8. We have had many student mentors continue on through the end of their senior year of high school.  (We just could not get them to leave!) Every so often, we get the opportunity to invite a mature fourth grader to get involved. Some of our most successful students include: Kiayra Childs, Sedrick Jackson, Sterling Jackson, Spencer Jackson, Alexa Cary, Andre Walker and Israel Henderson.

Currently we have ten student mentors that are actively participating, but we have the capacity to accommodate a total of sixteen. There are also two mentors on staff, including our Branch Manager Cynthia Smith.

For more information about the program, visit /project-next-generation or call the Peoria Public Library Lincoln Branch at 309-497-2600.

Check Out e-Books with the New RSA Cat

By Cindy Wright

            Beginning in March, you can now check out e-books directly from our new RSA Catalog. To find e-books, go to the Peoria Public Library home page at www.peoriapubliclibrary.org. At the top of the screen you should see a green Search box. Type your search terms (author and/or title), then click Start Search. You will be taken to the new RSACat with a list of books from your search. Over to the right side of the screen, there are many ways to refine your search. Look at the second set of choices, Electronic Format. Click on any e-book format that you can use on your device, then click Include. Conversely, you can also click any e-book format that you don’t want, then click Exclude. (Please note that EPUB e-books from e-Read Illinois are labeled “EPUB” whereas EPUB e-books from OverDrive are labeled “ADOBE EPUB”.) Another option allows you to browse by e-book vendor. Choose OverDrive for the Alliance Digital Media Library from OverDrive, Inc., or Baker and Taylor for e-Read Illinois powered by Axis 360. You can also filter the titles by device, also listed in the left column.

            Want to read a few pages before checking out an e-book? You can now download a sample of an OverDrive e-book onto your computer right from the new RSACat. To find titles with preview samples, scroll down the list of titles until you see one with a Preview toolbar on the right side of the screen. Click Preview, then select the format you prefer from the pop-up window. Depending on the format you choose, your preview will open in either Adobe Digital Editions or OverDrive Read. When you are ready to check out your e-book, just click Download on the right side of the screen, then sign in to your account. To find your downloaded e-book, go to Adobe Digital Editions on your computer or the OverDrive or Kindle app on your device and your book should be ready to read! To check out e-Read Illinois e-books, click Download on the right, sign in to your account, choose your format, then go to Adobe Digital Editions on your computer, or the Axis Reader or Blio on your device.

            For more information about the new RSA Cat and/or e-books, visit your local Peoria Public Library branch or call (309) 497-2000.

February YA Spotlight - The Latest in Young Adult Literature

Welcome to our blog series, “YA Spotlight.”  Each month, we will bring you a variety of YA titles, new and old, to add to your to-be-read pile.

This month, check out some award-winning books that were recently announced at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference.  There are three major awards given for Young Adult books: The Michael L. Printz Award, The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction.

This year’s winner of the Michael L. Printz Award is I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.  This book has been generating buzz all year, so it was no surprise that it picked up the award.  It tells the story of twins, Noah and Jude, who are inseparable until something drives them apart.  Jude tells one half of the story, while Noah tells the other.  They have to put the two parts together to find out what truly happened.

The William C. Morris Award is given to a first-time author writing for teens.  This year’s prize went to Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero.  Told through the voice of Gabi as she writes in her journal, it is the story of her senior year in high school.  She writes about the struggles of her friends and herself as they fall victims to stereotypes, and she fights against them.

This year’s winner for Excellence in Nonfiction was written by a teen.  Maya Van Wagenen, author of Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek, is only fifteen years old.  Her book chronicles her journey to popularity by following the advice of guide from the 1950s.  She followed the guide for a year with surprising results.

Check out these exciting titles and more at any Peoria Public Library location.  If you are an adult and like to read YA, consider joining the YA for Adults Book Club that meets the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 6:30 at the Lakeview Branch.  Look for more information on our book club page.

January YA Spotlight - The Latest in Young Adult Literature

Welcome to our blog series, “YA Spotlight.”  Each month, we will bring you a variety of YA titles, new and old, to add to your to-be-read pile.

This month, we are highlighting some new and upcoming releases to add to your reading list.

Perennial favorite Gayle Forman released her newest book, I Was Here.  Known to write books that are realistic and tackle difficult topics, this one is no exception.  High school senior Cody travels by herself to clean out the college bedroom of her best friend, Meg, who recently killed herself.  What she finds in Meg’s room reveals that there were many things she did not know about Meg.  For fans of: Gayle Forman and Laurie Halse Anderson

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios is another realistic fiction title that undertakes a difficult topic.  This time the main character, Skylar, is trying to escape her small town after high school graduation without any extra baggage (like a baby).  Plans change, and she starts working at a motel where she meets recent war veteran Josh.  For fans of: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Ally Carter, author of the Gallagher Girls series, has a new series about the teenage children living on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C.  The first title, out now, is All Fall Down.  Army brat Grace, who is also the granddaughter of a powerful ambassador, comes to live on Embassy Row after her mother’s death.  She uncovers a conspiracy that leaves her questioning who is her friend and who is her enemy.  For fans of: Ally Carter,  Robin Benway, and Jen Calonita

Check out these exciting new titles and more at any Peoria Public Library location.  If you are an adult and like to read YA, consider joining the YA for Adults Book Club that meets the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 6:30 at the Lakeview Branch.  Look for more information on our book club page.

November/December YA Spotlight - The Latest in Young Adult Literature

Welcome to our blog series, “YA Spotlight.”  Each month, we will bring you a variety of YA titles, new and old, to add to your to-be-read pile.

For a special November/December edition, we are looking at the best books of 2014, as named by various websites.  Use these lists to add to your own to-read list or guide your holiday shopping.

New York Times
Called “Notable Children’s Books of 2014,” this list highlights the best picture books, middle grade book, young adult books, and non-fiction from the children’s book editor of the New York Times Book Review.

Publisher’s Weekly
This year’s Children’s Starred Reviews Annual has been released, and you can read it online for free.  Enjoy over 100 pages of the highest-rated books of the year.

Every year, Goodreads lets its members choose their favorite books in 20 different categories.  This year, the top prize went to YA author Rainbow Rowell for her adult book Landline.

Let NPR’s “Book Concierge” guide your reading.  They present 21 different categories for browsing in an easy-to-navigate website.

As a bonus, use this infographic to find out which “Best Book of the 21st Century” you should read next.

Check out these exciting new titles and more at any Peoria Public Library location.  If you are an adult and like to read YA, consider joining the YA for Adults Book Club that meets the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 6:30 at the Lakeview Branch.  Look for more information on our book club page.

October YA Spotlight - The Latest in Young Adult Literature

Welcome to our blog series, “YA Spotlight.”  Each month, we will bring you a variety of YA titles, new and old, to add to your to-be-read pile.

Recently, Peoria Public Library patrons were given the opportunity to vote for their Top Teen Book.  From a ballot of 10 books, the top 3 titles were chosen.

The third-place title was Splintered by A.G. Howard.  This magical tale centers on a young girl who is the descendent of the girl who was the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland.  Alyssa can hear the whispers of bugs and flowers – an affliction that sent her mother to a mental hospital.  As her mother’s health deteriorates, Alyssa learns that Wonderland is real and she must pass a series of wild tests to save her family.

Second place was a tie between Earth Girl by Janet Edwards and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.  Eleanor and Park was highlighted in our April edition of YA Spotlight.  In Earth Girl, 18 year-old Jarra lives on Earth with others who are unable to live on other planets.  Considered an outcast because of her status on Earth, Jarra secretly joins a group of “norms” who are excavating the ruins of old cities.  She enjoys her newfound status until unforeseen circumstances threaten to send her off of Earth.

The Top Teen Book as chosen by Peoria readers was The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry.  In this nail-biting thriller, a girl is held captive in a cabin while two men argue over whether or not to kill her.  She does not know who she is or why she is there.  The author weaves stories of murder, identity theft, and biological warfare into this gripping story.

Check out these exciting new titles and more at any Peoria Public Library location.  If you are an adult and like to read YA, consider joining the YA for Adults Book Club that meets the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 6:30 at the Lakeview Branch.  Look for more information on our book club page.

E-Books Add Improvements

by Dorsey Dixon, public relations intern

I’m happy to announce to our readers that Alliance Digital Media Library (ADML) and E-Read Illinois have released new updates for their e-reading applications on Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch). Both the OverDrive and Axis360 apps now allow users to check out up to five books instead of three. Another addition shared by both apps is the integration of a fluid, personalized experience for users. After using both applications extensively, I can confirm that there is a lot to be excited about!
Let’s begin with ADML’s OverDrive app. First-time users will be asked to create an OverDrive account, and users under the age of 13 can authorize an account anonymously. Making an account took less than three minutes. After verifying my email, I was able to search for the Peoria Public Library and add it to my list of immediately for browsing. I could also download eBooks to either my phone in EPUB or Kindle format. I could also download streaming videos alongside books, making for a more structured experience than before. However, my favorite change was the removal of that dreadful Adobe Authorization step. This not only lets me log in faster, but shows that the developers have actually been listening to user requests.
E-Read Illinois’ Axis360 is one of three primary applications used for reading and has gone for a more immersive approach. Like OverDrive, the application allows first-time users to log in once before downloading, browsing, reading, or listening. Yes, listening! While Axis360 does not have audio books per say, it takes a feature from its sister app, Blio, to allow some books to be read to you. This is a great addition for readers who have children learning to read. One thing to note is that Axis360 allows users to view newer books, some of which have not even been released or published yet. Users can check these books out and be alerted when it becomes available for first access.
The compatibility with multiple smart phones and tablets really shows that both applications deserve a place on your reading device. I know that I will be using these applications for many months to come, and so should you.

A Genealogical Journey

by Alexis Flowers, Intern

Who would have thought that my family had well over 100 years of history in the city of Peoria? I heard so many people talk about finding their family history and ancestry over the years that I couldn’t help but jump on the bandwagon.   When I first began my family ancestry quest I was gathering information from both parents’ sides. I gathered any information that I could find, to help me on my journey to the past. I spoke to my great-grandmother and gathered names, birthdates, death dates, and family stories that had been passed down from generations. As I began to compile the information from both my mother’s and father’s tree, I realized that my father’s side would be best to research. Most of my mother’s lineage was routed back to Louisiana, where as my dad had more family history right here in Peoria.
Feeling a little over-whelmed with all of this information, I went to my local library, Peoria Public Library Main Branch, which has access to years and years of public files, newspaper articles, obituaries and more. The library has an entire room dedicated to local history and rare materials that are available for the public. There are also librarians that specialize in genealogy research that helped me jumpstart my family tree. “Genealogy Guru” Amber Lowery was a key to helping me unlock hidden family treasures.
We started first by using the “Genealogy Packet For Beginners”, a guide created by library staff which contained information on how to research, helpful tips, and family tree guides. We then placed all the names both maiden and married on the family tree. We got all the way up to my great-grandfather’s information where we hit a stand still. I didn’t know my great-grandfather’s parent’s names, but all hope was not lost, we used Ancestrylibraryedition.com and heritagequest.com to find my great great-grandfather’s name. It was Herman Wheeler born in 1902 in Peoria, Illinois!
We took it a step further and checked the Peoria Journal Star obituaries and found a full obituary with a picture, and details about his life. It was emotional seeing a face to someone that is so much a part of me, while yet never meeting him. The thing that was most intriguing was getting a glimpse of the person he was and hearing details about his life.  Finding this obituary also gave me access to his parents’ names, which was of great help in doing further research. After finding Herman Wheeler’s parents names we placed those names into ancestry.com
Using the library’s free Ancestry database, which has billions of genealogy records and military records, I found a match for the Wheeler family. I found a distant family member of mine that has already done genealogy work and has traced the family roots all the way back to the 1700s. This absolutely astonished me that it was possible to go that far back in the past. Needless to say, this project has ignited at spark in me to continue to discover and unfold my family history even more.
Anyone can study and research their family history with just some basic information, names and places. And never forget about local libraries they are a great resource in helping you along the journey.

Peoria Public Library offers databases and materials at Main Library in the Local History and Genealogy Room. Ancestry.com may be used at any library branch. Heritage Quest is available over the internet from anywhere with a Peoria Public Library card and PIN.