107 NE Monroe Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070

Heating and Air Conditioning Project Finishes at Main Library

The overhaul of the antiquated Main Library heating and air conditioning systems, that closed two floors of the building for several months, has reached an end with the building being fully open in late December.  While heat became available early in the month, it took several more weeks to finish details and clean up from the massive project. Materials that were sent out to branches so they would continue to be available to the public started returning to Main Library in early December.

The project, while it caused some interruption in service, prevented a much longer shutdown that would have come as a result of the old system failing unexpectedly. Library users will find the building more comfortable and be assured that the new, efficient system will serve the Main Library well for decades to come.

Smoke Free Campus Policy Voted On at December Board Meeting

On December 18, the Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees considered implementing a new policy to make all Peoria Public Library property smoke free. At the time of this writing, it is expected that the policy will have passed and will be implemented on January 1. For confirmation and details visit the library website at www.peoriapubliclibrary.org

The policy is aimed at making Peoria Public Library a welcoming, healthy and safe environment for both patrons and staff. Due to acknowledged health hazards arising from exposure to second hand smoke, the library will be a smoke and tobacco free environment.

The use of any smoke in any form, including inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted or heated cigar as well as the use of all forms of tobacco including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes (hookahs), electronic cigarettes (vaporizers), and smokeless tobacco will be prohibited on all Peoria Public Library property, although smoking in private vehicles that are parked at least 25 feet from an entrance or air intake vent will be allowed.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy products, known as nicotine patches, approved by the FDA are not considered a tobacco product.

Peoria Public Library joins many other institutions in the city in providing a healthier environment.

Peorians Begin Reading Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? For Peoria Reads! 2019

Peorians have already begun reading the 2019 Peoria Reads! NEA Big Read selection Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast and planning for a series of events in February and March.

In January, the Peoria City Council will proclaim Peoria Reads! season and attendees of the Osher Life Long Learning Institute at Bradley University will discuss the book. A musical kickoff will take place on February 24, with a series of events and discussions scheduled throughout March. All will focus on themes found in the book, which is a graphic novel. Reading a graphic novel will be a new experience for some, but the author is Roz Chast, a long-time cartoonist for the New Yorker, so readers will find her work familiar.

Discussions of aging and death are not popular with Americans, but Chast’s memoir provides an excellent platform for discussing these themes. The book tells the story of Chast’s parents’ final years through cartoons, family photos, found documents and narrative prose. Peoria Reads! chose this book as so many in the community have elderly family members who need assistance. Younger generations are dealing with conflicting emotions, memories and the many practical challenges of the last days and passing of older family members. Told with humor and pathos, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant is a book that will launch discussion and entertain while it offers comfort.

Copies of the book are available at Peoria Public Library. For more information on how to have your group participate by holding a discussion or other activity call (309) 497-2186. Watch for details on public programs and mark your calendar.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Music in the McKenzie Returns for 2019

Peoria Public Library will offer a new year-long series of free Sunday afternoon concerts in 2019, starting January 20 at North Branch from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Concerts feature talented acoustic acts from across the country and sometimes the world. When CDs are offered for sale, a portion of the proceeds supports The Friends of Peoria Public Library. Mark your calendar now for these remarkable performances.

January 20: Bones Jugs - From the depths of Urbana, IL Bones Jugs has emerged as the premier xylophone driven roots Americana act in the country. It’s a 21st century spin on early American music.

February 17: Anne Hills - One of the most beloved voices of the contemporary folk music scene. Whether she is singing her own songs or those written by others.

March 10: Dana & Sue Robinson - Americana-roots and folk duo who combine vivid, songwriting and storytelling with fiddle tunes, clawhammer banjo, elegant melodies, and rich harmony singing.

April 7: Fox Crossing Stringband - These ladies bring high harmonies plus driving rhythm of dobro, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, and bass. Six instruments across four vocalists will leave you chasing these foxes for their bluegrass sound.

May 19: Banjovi & Hawkins and Anne - a three piece band playing bluegrass, country, 60’s, and 70’s. Featuring three part harmonies, with banjo, guitar, and trumpet.

June 9: Turas - Meaning trip or journey in Gaelic, Turas brings traditional Irish music to central Illinois. Playing a wide variety of Irish/Celtic music, Turas never fails to deliver on good music and good times.

July 14: The Sweet Potatoes - Featuring acoustic guitars, ukulele, accordion and harmonica, this trio will bring a smile to your face with their sweet harmonies and songwriting.

August 25: Shawna Caspi - Shawna performs solo, but there is a whole band under her fingertips. She believes in poetry and the power of one person and one instrument, accompanying herself with a lyrical fingerpicking guitar style.

September 29: Switchback - Switchback draws on traditional Celtic music and original Americana songs that reflect their Irish heritage and Midwestern roots.

October 13: Still Shine - Still Shine is a group of like-minded, seasoned musicians blending acoustic roots and progressive bluegrass. They mix mandolin, harmonica, banjo, acoustic guitar, upright bass, and tight harmonies.

November 17: James Herr - James Herr is an acoustic artist who performs authentic versions of James Taylor, Paul Simon, Jim Croce and other acoustic classics.

December 1: Goodnight Gracie - Goodnight Gracie plays music from many genres including pop, blues, indie, country and a few originals! They love audience interaction and encourage you to get up and dance if the music moves you.

Genealogy DNA Class Offered Through Year

Genetic genealogy, using the results of a DNA test to help build a family tree, has gotten so popular and so many questions are asked of library staff, that a new class will be offered in 2019 for those who want to learn more.  The entire series is four classes, but the classes will be repeated three times and those interested are invited to attend one class, an entire series or attend as convenient.

In class one learn about the history of DNA testing for genetic genealogy purposes, how to use it with traditional genealogy, and how DNA companies keep your information safe. During class 2 learn about five of the most popular DNA testing companies, types of testing, and the differences between the services they offer and information they provide. The third class will teach how to read results, understand new terminology and why ethnicity estimate are only a small part of your results. The final and fourth class will show how to make family connections, use third party tools, and break through your brick walls on your research with DNA evidence.

The class will be taught by Amber Lowery of the Local History and Genealogy staff and will be offered at different locations and times, giving everyone an opportunity to attend. The first session will be offered on the first Saturday of the month at Main Library at 2:00 p.m. in Classroom A on Lower Level 1 on January 5, February 2, March 2, April 6. The second session will be held on the first Sunday of the month at Lakeview Branch at noon on May 5, June 2, July 7 and August 4.  The final and third session will be taught on the first Wednesday of the month at North Branch in the McKenzie Room on September 4, October 2, November 6, December 4. The classes will be listed on the library calendar each month and can be found on the webpage.

Attend one class or attend them all, they are free and open to the public. For more information please call (309) 497-2000.

Exciting New Programs Announced for 2019

The new year will ring in a variety of interesting programs and activities for all ages, from new discussion groups to film series.

The Atlantic Monthly magazine covers the world with discussions of politics, culture, science, business, family and much more. A new discussion group will meet monthly beginning January 14 at North Branch from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Bring lunch or a snack and engage in lively and intellectual discussion. In a time when civil conversation is difficult to find, this group could be your answer. Just read the feature article and any other articles that interest you in print or online and join in. Free and open to the public.

A free afternoon movie is a great way to enjoy some time out of the house, especially when the movie is a musical! Each third Thursday at North Branch from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. , starting on January 17, with Cabaret, a musical will be shown on the big screen in the McKenzie Room. Some will be classics, some newer films and all are sure to be enjoyable. Bring a snack and some friends or family and start the weekend early. Be sure to pick up the schedule for the year so you don’t miss any of your favorites.

Prefer morning movies? McClure Branch is airing its “The Book Was First” movie series on the second Monday of the month beginning January 14 from 10:30 to 12:30 a.m. Each movie in the series is based on a book. Read the book first to see how it compares to the movie, or just come to enjoy the movie and some light refreshments. It’s free and open to the public. In January view the 1994 film Forrest Gump based on the book of the same name by Winston Groom. Pick up a schedule to see what’s coming or check Passages or the web calendar every month to see the selection. It’s sure to be a great way to start your week.

Longing for the good old days of those landmark TV series? Come to ReRun Review at Lakeview Branch this January for a viewing of episodes 1 to 6 of Dallas (1978-1991) starring Larry Hagman, Barbara Bel Geddes, Donna Reed and Patrick Duffy. We will binge watch on Monday through Wednesday, January 28-30 from 6:00 to 7:45 p.m. Super fans, newbies and costumes are invited, but spoilers are discouraged. Then, vote on the selection for another ReRun Review!

Take advantage of these interesting and enjoyable programs in 2019. For more information, call (309) 497-2000.

I Seek Dead People

By Amber Lowery

I was once asked to describe my job in the worst way possible. My response was, “I seek dead people.”  Truly, one of the important tasks for the staff at Peoria Public Library is finding obituaries. Obituaries are a staple to genealogy research. Family historians are always hopeful for that exceptionally detailed written record of an ancestor’s family. We seek out names of parents, with hopefully a maiden name for the mother. We trace down through their children and siblings, eager for married names of lost daughters or sisters. We exclaim over the rare obituary that mentions a loved one of the deceased that time has forgotten to record thoroughly. We pout when we realize that an obituary we are seeking does not exist. That is the power of obituaries.

The Local History and Genealogy department at the Main Library does offer obituary lookup services for those who cannot come in to do the research themselves. We do ask that those wishing to use our services follow some guidelines. Requests are limited to four lookups per week, per patron.  Obituaries can be requested through our Ask A Librarian feature on our website, or through the mail. While our microfilm does cover Peoria papers back to 1837, we are not fully indexed, so we will need name of the deceased and date of death for them. We generally are able to reply with our results in two to three days. While we do not charge a fee for this service at this time, we are always happy to receive donations to the library for our efforts.  If you are local to the area, drop by the Main Library and make it a day of research. Our Local History and Genealogy staff will be available to help guide you through this fantastic collection.

Hot New Titles Coming in January 2019

By Robin Helenthal

Turning Point by Danielle Steel tells the story of four trauma doctors from the United States that are the best in their field. It tells how they deal with challenges in both their personal and professional life when they are given the extraordinary opportunity to work on a one of a kind project with a group of similar doctors in Paris in a mass-casualty training program. Bill Browning is the head of the San Francisco General Emergency, Stephanie Lawrence is an up and coming doctor at the UCSF Hospital at Mission Bay, Wendy Jones is a committed trauma doctor at Stanford and Tom Wylie is an doctor with outstanding medical skills at the Oakland Medical Center. They and their counterparts in Paris are put to the test when an act of mass violence takes place in Paris. They must face choices with consequences that will affect all their lives.

The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man: A Novel is a sequel to Jonas Jonasson’s previous book titled: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. The novel begins with Allan Karlsson and sidekick Julius departing on a hot air balloon trip along with three bottles of champagne. They get more than just great views from the air when their balloon lands in the sea and they are rescued by a North Korean ship. They also never expected to find that the captain of the ship has a suitcase full of contraband uranium on its way to Korea. They soon find themselves in the middle of an intricate diplomatic crisis involving prominent world figures and needless to say, things will get very, very complicated.

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict is a novel based on the life Hedy Lamarr, a Hollywood screen star who was also a scientist. She led the way in advancing communication technology in the 1940s. Hedwig “Hedy” Keisler, of Jewish heritage, was acting on stage in Vienna when she met Friedrich Mandl, a military munitions manufacturer. Her parents encouraged their relationship and she married Mandl to protect her parents. It was a dangerous time for Austrian Jews, as Nazism was rising in neighboring Germany. After discovering his controlling and abusive nature, she escaped to London and from there to America and Hollywood, where she returns to acting and also begins a new career as an inventor. It is the story of a woman known for her beauty but also wanting to be recognized for her intelligence and scientific curiosity.

Main Library HVAC Construction to Finish in December

The heating and air conditioning project that has kept the first and second floors of Main Library closed since September is drawing to a close.  Unforeseen issues may delay the reopening slightly past the projected December 3 opening date that has been advertised.  Watch the Peoria Public Library website and local media for information as to to when Main Library will resume full operations.

Several parts of the system that will heat and cool the large five story building must be custom-made. Those custom-configured pieces are key to having heat operational in the building and being able to reopen all floors to the public. The Gallery, which has new exhibits in November and December, as well as Local History and Genealogy, remain open. The Friendly Finds Used Bookstore is also open Monday through Wednesday and Saturday, from noon to 4:00 p.m. 

Public computers, books, movies, magazines and other services on the first and second floors will not be available until the HVAC project is finished and those floors reopen. However, a wide selection of materials as well as public computers are available at North Branch, Lakeview Branch, McClure Branch and Lincoln Branch. The Peoria Public Library website at www.peoriapubliclibrary.org is available 24/7 and allows patrons with library cards to perform research searches, download books and music, access local history information, reserve and renew books and much more from anywhere the internet can be accessed. Use the online catalog to reserve books and have them sent to the branch of your choice for pickup. You may also call 309-497-2000 for assistance in having questions answered, renewing materials or finding a new book to read.

Look for all of Main Library to reopen this December!

Veteran Artists Explore Experiences with 22VA Art Show

Art therapy is often used to help people recover from trauma and illness. Veterans have found art to be an effective means to capture their experiences and work through the anguish caused by being in battle. 22VA is a group that was founded to help bring awareness to the issue of the stress our veterans are often under as they adjust to civilian life.  For some, it takes a lifetime of work to heal. 22VA has helped publicized the tragedy of veteran suicide, which claims the lives of 22 veterans a day. This equates to around 30 suicides per 100,000 veterans, a rate that is more than double the rate for the civilian population.

Headed by Michael Ragan and Randy Prunty, 22VA is a group of veteran artists who want to help reduce the number of veteran suicides. Again this year they have been recruiting veterans to show the public their talent, their emotion and the importance place art can hold in healing the spirit. Some veterans were artists previous to their service, others have become artists and others are using it as therapy.

Works to be shown include paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, jewelry, models and more. All forms of art work created by veterans are welcome

All veterans are invited to show their work. The show opens December 21 and veterans who want to participate are invited to contact programming@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us or call (309) 497-2150. Memorabilia is also a welcome addition to the exhibit.

The show runs through January and a reception date is to be announced.