107 NE Monroe Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070

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Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees Appoints New Director

     The Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Tuesday evening during the regular Board meeting to appoint Leann Johnson, who has been serving as Interim Director since November 2012, to the position of Library Director.
     Ms. Johnson has been with Peoria Public Library for 28 years, serving as Interim Director three times and spending 17 years as Assistant Director. She also served as Manager of Branches, Manager of the former Business, Science and Technology Department and Staff Liaison to the Building Committee throughout the recent building project. She came to Peoria Public Library from a position with the former Illinois Valley Library System.   An Illinois native, she holds a B.A. in English from Eastern Illinois University and a Masters of Library and Information Science from The University of Illinois.
    Linda Daley, President of the Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees said,  ”We were delighted that Leann Johnson accepted the position.  She is an experienced, talented, local professional with exactly the qualifications we were seeking.  She possesses the skills and knowledge we need to lead the Peoria Public Library into the future.  She will become the permanent Library Director immediately.”
   Margaret Cousin, Chairman of the Personnel Committee said, “Peoria Public Library has undergone a brilliant renaissance as a result of our recent capital development campaign. Leann Johnson's qualifications and depth of experience are impressive. The Board is confident she is the ideal candidate to serve as Director to lead the Library as it evolves to serve our community's needs and interests.
    Peoria Public Library recently completed a $28 million building project that remodeled and /or expanded four buildings and constructed the new North Branch. The buildings were designed to allow the staff to provide excellent, cutting edge service to Peorians.  In the past year circulation has increased by 24% with door traffic up 54%.

YA Spotlight - The Latest Young Adult Literature

Welcome to our new 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.

January is full of exciting new YA titles.  Some of the standouts are Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, and The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. 

Veronica Rossi’s Into the Still Blue is the final book in her dystopian/sci-fi trilogy that includes Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night about a world where civilization is divided into two groups – those who live in environmentally-controlled communities where virtual reality is more common than actual reality and those who live outside in the real world.  The communities outside are populated by tribes who struggle to survive in the harsh environment where violent energy storms threaten them daily.  What happens when the two groups have to join together and escape their crumbling world?  Will “Dweller” Aria and tribal leader Perry stay together in the end?  This dystopian/sci-fi romance will keep you on the edge of your seat.  For fans of: Divergent by Veronica Roth and Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Newcomer Rosamund Hodge has re-imagined the classic Beauty and the Beast with Cruel Beauty.  Website Goodreads describes it as “a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.”  Receiving early praise from book reviewers, this tale of a teen that is forced to marry the evil ruler of her kingdom is a good choice for fans of fantasy and romance.  For fans of: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Bestselling author of middle grade and young adult novels, Laurie Halse Anderson’s latest book is getting rave reviews.  Like several of her previous novels, The Impossible Knife of Memory tackles a tough issue.  In this case the issue is post-traumatic stress disorder.  The main character, a teen girl, struggles to take care of her father – a veteran of the war in Iraq – while trying to maintain a normal teenage life.  For fans of: Speak and Wintergirls, also by Halse Anderson

Check out these exciting new titles and more at any Peoria Public Library location.  If you’re 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.

August/September 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 brings you a special double dose of recommendations.  Enjoy these books that will get you in the mood to go back to school or take your mind off of it.

Have you read Harry Potter yet?  Has it been a long time?  Maybe you should pick it up again.  If you were in grade school the last time you read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, you may have a completely different reading of it this time.  What better way to settle into a new school year than to experience it with Harry!  For readers who have read it before or those who have not read it but have always wanted to.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is a contemporary book about a boy who falls in love with a strange new girl at his high school.  Stargirl is not normal, which bothers Leo.  She is confident in her strange ways and enchants the other students for a while.  When she falls out of grace, Leo tries to get her to be more normal.  For readers who enjoy simple, well-written books.

In The Reece Malcom List by Amy Spalding, Devan moves to Los Angeles to live with her mother after the death of her fater.  Devan’s mother is Reece Malcom, famous novelist, and there is very little else Devan knows about her.  As Devan adjusts to life with her mysterious mother, she also has to adjust to her new school.  For readers who enjoy fun teen coming-of-age with a little romance on the side.

For first-year college students, there is Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando.  After Elizabeth and Lauren receive their roommate assignment for their freshman year, they start emailing each other about things like who will buy the fridge or microwave.  As they get closer to college, the girls’ relationship helps them deal with what is happening at home.  For readers who are nervous about their first year at a new school.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick is a high school romance with a supernatural twist.  Good girl Nora is paired with new student Patch in Biology class.  She feels uncomfortable around him, but is not sure why.  Things unravel when Nora discovers that Patch is a fallen angel and she plays a major role in an ancient battle.  For readers who enjoy Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver and other contemporary with a fantastical twist.

In I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter, Cammie attends a prestigious boarding school for young women.  What makes the school unique is that she’s learning martial arts, covert operations, and how to break CIA codes.  This is a school for spies.  When Cammie meets a boy who thinks she is an ordinary girl, she enlists the help of her fellow spies-in-training to pull of the biggest operation yet: being in a relationship.  For readers who enjoy mysteries, light-hearted romance, and espionage.

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.

New U.S. Currency Reader for Visually Impaired Launched!

by Amir Drissi of Peoria Public Library Outreach

The National Library Service has partnered with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to launch a new U.S. currency reader for the blind and/or visually impaired. This gadget stems from the government’s “Meaningful Access Initiative,” aimed at helping individuals who have difficulties identifying U.S. currency.

The portable device dubbed the “iBill Talking Bank Note Identifier,” is about the size of a key fob and has the ability to distinguish U.S. banknotes of any denomination. Simply slip the bill into the reader and it will acknowledge the bills value using three different methods; value by voice, pattern of tones, or pattern of vibrations, all at the press of a button.

For more information, eligibility requirements or to sign up for the iBill or any other National Library Service programs, please call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323), contact the Peoria Public Library Outreach Department at 1-309-497-2068, or checkout the links below.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing:


U.S. Currency Reader (iBill) Program Application Download:

Spanish Application

English Application



Peoria Public Library Delivers! Are You Eligible?

by Amir Drissi

Did you know we delivered?

Well, we do! For over 30 years the Peoria Public Library Outreach Department has been operating our Homebound Program which delivers books, DVDs, magazines and other library materials directly to our patron’s homes.

What are the qualifications?

If you or someone you know are unable to make it to the library due to a disability or injury, and would still like to take advantage of all the library has to offer, give the Outreach Department a call at 309-497-2068 to check your eligibility.

What do we offer?

The Homebound Program offers a variety of materials to help you stay informed and entertained, including a wide selection of large print books, DVDs, magazines, music CDs and books on CD. In addition to physical materials, we also offer a variety of E-Book and E-Reader services that you can take advantage of on most PC, Mac, IPad/IPod, or Android devices, just ask us how to get started.

How can I find out more?

For more information about the Homebound Program or to check for eligibility, please contact the Outreach Department at 309-497-2068.

March YA Spolight - 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 the upcoming books that our YA for Adults Book Club will be reading.

In April, join us for a discussion of the Peoria Reads 2015 selection – Enrique’s Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario.  We will be reading the young adult adaptation of this book.  Journalist Sonia Nazario followed the journey of a boy as he tried to travel from Honduras to the United States to be with his mother.  The conditions that children travel in to reach the United States will surprise readers.  Nazario’s book was originally published as a series of newspaper articles, for which she won a Pulitzer Prize.

May’s selection is We Were Liars by veteran YA author E. Lockhart.  This book has been described as twisty, mysterious, and mesmerizing.  The book is so mysterious, no clear synopsis exists.  What is clear is that something strange is afoot on a private island.  Join us for a discussion of this book that received rave reviews across the board in 2014. 

June will be more light-hearted with A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall.  This unconventional contemporary romance is told from the point of view of the people surrounding young couple Lea and Gabe.  From the Starbucks barista to the squirrel in the park, everyone knows they belong together – except Lea and Gabe.

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.

Halloween Music Playlist from Freegal

Ready to party? Create and stream a playlist with Freegal using your library card. Enter "Halloween" in the search box or try this Freegal playlist!

  • BEYONCE- Haunted
  • FIFTH HARMONY- I'm In Love With A Monster
  • RAY PARKER JR.- Ghostbusters
  • RJD2- The Horror
  • THE SPECIALS- Ghost Town
  • WARREN ZEVON- Werewolves In London
  • HOWLIN' WOLF- Evil
  • LITTLE NEIL-Time Warp
  • OZZY OSBOURNE-Mr. Crowley
  • ALICE COOPER-Feed My Frankenstein
  • SKIP JAMES-Devil Got My Woman
  • MS MR-Bones
  • YEAH YEAH YEAHS- Heads Will Roll
  • KE$HA-Cannibal
  • MIKE OLDFIELD- Tubular Bells
  • STEVIE WONDER-Superstition
  • REDBONE- The Witch Queen of New Orleans
  • SCREAMIN' JAY HAWKINS-I Put A Spell on You
  • BESSIE SMITH-Haunted House Blues
  • DONOVAN-Season of The Witch
  • BLUE OYSTER CULT-Don't Fear The Reaper
  • THE CHARLIE DANIELS BAND-The Devil Went Down To Georgia
  • AC/DC-Hells Bells
  • FRANK SINATRA-Witchcraft
  • DAVE MATTHEWS BAND-Gravedigger
  • FIONA APPLE-Werewolf
  • DEAD KENNEDYS- Halloween
  • SAM THE SHAM-Lil' Red Riding Hood
  • JOHNNY CASH-Ghost Riders In The Sky
  • SANTANA-Black Magic Woman
  • ROBERT JOHNSON-Hellhound on My Trail
  • DJ JAZZY JEFF & THE FRESH PRINCE-Nightmare on My Street
  • ALICE IN CHAINS- Them Bones

Call for entries 52nd Annual Rennick Juried Art Show

Call for entries! All artists are invited to participate. The show is sponsored by the Peoria Historical Society in collaboration with Peoria Public Library.

The show opens Wednesday, May 4 and runs through May 27 at Peoria Public Main Library,  107 NE Monroe Street Lower Level 1 Gallery.

Artists may submit oil, watercolor, pen & ink, pastels, colored pencils, charcoal, mixed media, acrylic, photography, pottery, fiber art, print-making, porcelain, or sculpture.  Your piece must depict a scene that is within 100 mile radius of the tri-county area. All artwork must be an original completed in the last two years and ready for hanging or for display in the enclosed cases at the library.

Monday, May 2 - Enter Artwork - 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 3 - Hanging of Artwork
Wednesday, May 4 - Exhibit Opens & Judging
Saturday, May 14 - Artist Reception - 2:00 -4:00 p.m. Lower Level Gallery 1
Tuesday, May 31 - Pick Up Artwork - 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.


Winners will be notified by phone.
BEST OF SHOW  -  $300              SECOND PLACE  -  $ 50
FIRST PLACE  -      $  50              THIRD PLACE       -  $ 50
Honorable mentions will receive ribbons.

Non-refundable entry fee is  $15.00 for one entry
$10.00 for each additional piece of art - limit of five pieces.

You may preregister - send your check payable to Peoria Historical Society - 611 SW Washington Street, Peoria, IL. 61602 -OR- you may bring your check/cash on the day of entry, May 2nd, 10:30-5:30 pm. Artists entry forms are here. Your participation is greatly appreciated!

Local Authors Wanted!

The Peoria Public Library will host a Local Author's Fair on Saturday, November 5 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.  Local Authors are invited to have a table and meet fans as well as sell books just in time for the holidays. The Friends of Peoria Public Library will handle all sales so authors will be free to speak with visitors. Twenty percent of sales will go to support The Friends who in turn support programs at Peoria Public Library. To participate, download the form or call (309) 497-2143.

Silver Sparrow author Tayari Jones here in February

The 2017 book of choice for the NEA Big Read: Peoria Reads! is Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones.  It’s a heartbreaking tale of one man and his two families.  The story takes place in middle-class Atlanta in the 80’s.  One daughter knows about his second family and the story asks what happens when the other daughter finds out.  Through a chance meeting, the two teenage girls become friends and the truth of the situation starts to unravel.   The girls have to find their way through this storm and find that family and friend can bring both joy and pain.  The book lends itself to great discussion questions for book clubs and groups who want to talk about the importance of honesty and the value of relationships.

The author of Silver Sparrow was born and raised in Atlanta, GA and educated Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona state.  Tayari Jones’ stories all take place in the south and are about African-Americans.  Silver Sparrow is her third novel.  The novel was also chosen as a NEA Big Read for this year. 

Here is a great interview with her talking about Silver Sparrow with NPR: http://www.npr.org/2011/05/19/136466056/silver-sparrow-tayari-joness-tale-of-secret-sisters

Peoria Reads! is happy to have the author, Tayari Jones, come to two events at the Peoria Public Library.  Thursday, February 23 at 6:00 at the Peoria Public Library- Lincoln Branch, and Saturday, February 25 at 1:00 at Peoria Public Library- North Branch.  Ms. Jones will talk about her book, answer questions, and sign books.  The event is free and open to the public. 

Check back with the Peoria Reads! for further information and details about this year’s Peoria Reads! pick.  www.peoriareads.com

The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment of the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.  For more information, please visit www.neabigread.org.