107 NE Monroe Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070

Book ‘Em Mystery Readers: Saying Goodbye to 25 Years of Mischief, Mayhem and Murder

By Helen L. Burgess

Peorian Joyce Welsch loved books, especially mystery books. She wanted to share this love of the mystery genre with the public. In the fall of 1994, she got together with a few friends and the Peoria Public Library program manager to create a Mystery Readers book club, which Joyce christened, “Book ‘Em.” The first meeting was held in January 1995.

This fun Mystery Readers book club met the third Sunday of each month at Peoria Public Library’s Lakeview Branch. The male/female mix of authors was about 50/50, and we read everything from the classics to thrillers, hometown cozies, psychotics and police procedurals. Of the nearly 300 books read and discussed over 25 years, the most read authors were: Michael Connelly, James Patterson, Sara Paretsky, C.J. Box, J.A. Jance, and Janet Evanovich.

At around our 10th year, Joyce talked a few members into participating in writing our own murder mystery. At our 20th year, we celebrated the completed writing of our book. As it had a Peoria setting, we named the book Murder on Whiskey Row and copyrighted both the book and the name, “Book ‘Em Mystery Readers.” The book may be found in several local area libraries.

Joyce’s dream of sharing her love of the mystery genre has now reached the 25 year mark. We have had a good run - and this is a good place to end. Book ‘Em Mystery Readers are disbanding their club pending the final meeting on Dec. 15, 2019.

We wish to thank all who have participated in our club over these 25 years.

A special thanks to Peoria Public Library and their Lakeview Branch as our host library for all those years, and to the Friends of Peoria Public Library for allowing us to hold the Joyce Welsch Memorial Fundraiser to honor her dream of Book ‘Em Mystery Readers, and the publishing of our book, Murder on Whiskey Row. Joyce Welsch passed away in July 2009.

Parent University

As part of Peoria Public Schools’ annual Parent University, Peoria Public Library will open Lakeview Branch, which is normally closed on Thursdays, and host a special StoryTime and craft.

Staff will also be on hand at the Oct. 3 event to demonstrate how to use our various databases, particularly the ones for students including:

Brainfuse HelpNow – One-on-one online sessions with live tutors from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day for grades K-12. Get help with math, English, science and social studies, as well as help taking the G.E.D. Also includes a writing lab offering thorough analysis – writing style and organization – of your papers.

Testing and Education Reference Center -- Online tool for standardized test preparation, researching undergraduate and graduate programs, finding tuition assistance, and career advice. 

ABC-CLIO –  A multidisciplinary reference resource with more than 140,000 primary and secondary source materials across numerous subject areas – world history to geography to pop culture.

SIRS Issues Researcher – Provides authoritative insight into the most-studied social issues by delivering the pros and cons from relevant, credible documents and graphics selected by trained editors and curated from over 2,000 global sources. Critical Thinking and Information Literacy skills are promoted through engaging essential questions and supporting viewpoint articles. All articles, websites, multimedia graphics, charts, maps, statistics, primary sources, and government documents are editorially-selected from thousands of global sources.

What's New in Large Print

By Teri Miller

Thrillers for October 2019

Large print books are for anyone who enjoys the ease and convenience of reading larger type. Enjoy these Thriller titles appearing soon on a Large Print Shelf at your favorite branch!

Lock Every Doorby Riley Sager: Riley Sager’s latest heart-pounding thriller follows Jules Larsen, a heartbroken and broke young woman whose new job as an apartment sitter at one of Manhattan’s most high-profile, glamorous and mysterious buildings may cost more than it pays. (Main, Lakeview, Lincoln and North)

Layoverby David Bell: Joshua Fields takes the same flights every week for work. His life is a series of departures and arrivals, hotels and airports. During yet another layover, he meets Morgan, a beautiful stranger with whom he feels an immediate connection. As soon as Morgan disappears in the crowd, Joshua is shocked to see her face on a nearby TV. The reason: Morgan is a missing person. What follows is a whirlwind, fast-paced journey filled with lies, deceit, and secrets. (Main, Lakeview and North)

The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean: Tikka Malloy was eleven years old during the long, hot, Australian summer of 1992. That summer was when the Van Apfel sisters – Ruth, Hannah, and the beautiful Cordelia – mysteriously disappeared. The mystery of their disappearance was never solved, and Tikka and her old sister, Laura, have been haunted every since by the loss of their friends and playmates. Now, years later, Tikka has returned home to try to make sense of that strange moment in time. (Main, Lakeview and North)

The Body in Questionby Jill Ciment: Two jurors on a sensational murder trial, sequestered at the Econo Lodge, fall into a furtive affair yet keep their oath never to discuss the trial. During deliberations, the lovers learn that they are on opposing sides of the case as things become more complicated. (Main and North)

The Turn of the Keyby Ruth Ware: She stumbles across the ad while looking for something else: a live-in nanny post with a staggeringly generous salary. She doesn’t know that she’s entering a nightmare that will end with a child dead and her in prison for murder. (Main)

The Last Woman in the Forestby Diane Les Becquets: From the national bestselling author of Breaking Wildcomes a riveting and powerful thriller about a woman whose greatest threat to her survival could be the man she loves. (Lakeview, Lincoln, Main and North)

The Last Good Guyby T. Jefferson Parker: Private investigator Roland Ford hunts for a missing teenager and uncovers a dark conspiracy that will leave him questioning everything he thought he knew about decency, honesty, and the battle between good and evil. (Main, Lakeview and North)

Little Darlingsby Melanie Golding: Lauren Tranter’s infants, Morgan and Riley, disappear from her side. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley, but to Lauren, something is off. Determined to bring her true infants home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. (Lakeview and North)


Back to the Books

September is National Library Card Sign-up month, which is perfect since school is back in session and a library card is as essential as any No. 2 pencil on your school supply list.

Did you know that any student attending Peoria Public Schools, even those residing outside the library’s district, are eligible for a student library card, valid Aug. 15 to Aug. 14 of the next year.  All teachers at Peoria’s public and parochial schools and Dunlap schools can also obtain a special Peoria Public Library card, valid Aug. 1-July 31, for classroom purposes only.

Beyond books, your library card is also your key to our vast resources, including our online research and tutorial databases, which offer online homework help, test prep and skill-building services. Visit our website at www.peoriapubliclibrary.org for details on how to get your very own library card.

September: Library Card Sign-Up Month

Peggy Miller is one of the 47,487 Peorians who have a Peoria Public Library card.

And like every one of those cardholders, she has a story.

“My aunt Irene took me to the library to get a card when I was in 2nd grade. She helped me pick out a book and showed me how to check it out,” Miller recalls. “She told me I had to take very good care of the book or I could not get another. She gave me a very special bag from Carson Pirie Scott to keep the book safe. Then she showed me how to walk home.

“My household was very chaotic. She set my life on a course that would save me. The library ladies were kind, gentle and helpful. The library was a safe place.”

Miller’s aunt Irene died a year ago.

“I can’t explain how much it meant to me. (The library) was my sanctuary,” says Miller, who grew up in a small suburb south of Chicago, but now lives in Peoria.

And Miller couldn’t be prouder that her daughter grew up to become one of those “kind, gentle, helpful” ladies, a librarian who now manages Peoria Public Library’s Lakeview Branch.

Forty-one percent of Peorians have a library card, giving them access to a wealth of resources – newspapers, magazines, music, movies, research journals, local historical collections, online databases, free computers and even free passes to some museums. Oh, and books. Lots of books.

Peoria Public Library has more than 540,000 items in our collection, but we have access to any book, basically anywhere.

But, as Miller proves, libraries are more than depositories of information. They are places to feel safe, to feel empowered and to be encouraged to be your best self.

As author Kurt Vonnegut once noted, “The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month. Every single resident of the city of Peoria can have a library card.

If you don’t have one, please come visit one of our five locations and let us help you.



Requirements for a Peoria Public Library card:

You must live in the city of Peoria

You must show a photo I.D.

You must show something with your current address.
(Examples: I.D., mail, bill, checkbook)

Requirements for children to obtain a Peoria Public Library card:
(For children up through the 8th grade)

Child must live in the city of Peoria

Parent must show a photo I.D.

Parent must show something with your current address.
(Examples: I.D., mail, bill, checkbook)

Child must be accompanied by a parent.

There is a $2.00 replacement fee for lost cards.

Non-resident cards
Peoria Public Library offers a non-resident library card for $140.00 a year. For more information, call the Peoria Public Library Circulation Department at (309) 497-2164 or (309) 497-2165.

Teacher Card
This card is available to any teacher who teaches at Peoria Public Schools or any teacher at Dunlap Schools who lives in an area served by a tax-supported public library. Peoria Public Schools teachers who live in an unserved area can obtain a teacher card under the Intergovernmental Agreement between Peoria Public Library and Peoria Public Schools. This card is available to Peoria Public Schools, District 323, private, parochial, and daycare teachers. It is valid from August 1 through July 31 and is to be used for classroom purposes only.

Out And About

Peoria Public Library’s staff is small, but mighty.

We have five locations and a Bookmobile staffed by 72 full-time, 7 part-time and 14 student pages. Any day of the week, at least three of our locations are open. We also averaged 1,800 visitors a day at our multiple locations, issued more than 8,000 library cards and hosted more than 1,300 programs in 2018. All this, and we still find time to be Out and About in the community, promoting literacy and education.

Right: Katy Bauml from Lakeview Branch reads at OSF Children’s Hospital’s Almost Home.

Below: Alyce Jackson, Manager of Programming (pictured) and Jennifer Davis, Manager of Public Relations, handed out library card applications at the recent BackPack Peoria at the Dream Center. More than 1,800 people attended the July 27 event.

What's New in Large Print

By Teri Miller

Romance for September 2019

Large print books are for anyone who enjoys the ease and convenience of reading larger type. Enjoy these Romance titles appearing soon on a Large Print Shelf at your favorite branch!

The Seekers by Heather Graham: Keri Wolf has joined The Seekers, a show about paranormal phenomena, as they explore a “haunted” inn infamous for an ax murder rampage in the 1920s – and discover a dead body in the basement. (Main, Lakeview, McClure and North)

Temptation’s Darling by Johanna Lindsey: Johanna Lindsey blends passion and humor in a dazzling Regency-era novel in which a disastrous debutante becomes the toast of the town with a little help from a friend of the Prince Regent.

Cliff’s Edge by Meg Tilly: All set to house-sit and run their bakery while her sister Maggie is on her honeymoon, Eve Harris finds the house occupied. By a movie star; her brother-in-law’s friend, Rhys Thomas, insists on staying but offers to help. Playing house is very tempting, but they are not as alone as they think. (Lakeview and North)

Seduced by a Scot by Julia London: Facing a scandal weeks before their daughter’s wedding, a prominent Scottish family turns to Nichol Bain, fixer for the aristocracy. The family’s ward has caught the groom’s wandering eye, so Nichol escorts Maura toward an arranged marriage. But she’s not interested. (Lakeview and North)

Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness by Sandra Hill: Welcome to Bell Cove, North Carolina. Independence Day may have just passed in the small Outer Banks town known for its famous bells, but one ex-Navy SEAL has a declaration of his own to make. (Lakeview, Main and North)

Healing Hearts by Sarah M. Eden: In the frontier town of Savage Wells, Dr. Gideon MacNamara’s prospects for a bride are limited. So he sends for a mail-order bride with nursing experience. Arriving to a town ready for a wedding, Miriam is horrified to find he wanted a wife, not a nurse! (Lakeview and North)

The Cowboy Meets His Match by Margaret Brownley: The will is clear: Chase McKnight needs a wife by his side if he wants to keep his home. So he meets his veiled lady at the courthouse and says “I do.” And marries the wrong bride! (Lakeview and North)

At the Mountain’s Edge by Genevieve Graham: In 1897, gold is discovered in the Yukon, and thousands swarm to the north. Inspired by history as rich as the Klondike’s gold, this is an epic tale of romance and adventure about two people who must let go of the past not only to be together, but also to survive. (Lakeview and North)

There's Power in Partnerships

There’s power in partnerships. This summer, Peoria Public Library joined with nearly 30 other local organizations to host a special Slide into Summer Reading party at Owens Recreation Center. The kick-off party, coordinated by Align Peoria, featured games, goodie bags, free books and food, a visit from PBS’ Daniel Tiger and, of course, the opportunity to sign up for our Summer Reading program.
Nearly 350 people signed up for Summer Reading during that two-hour party.
“This was such a great way to get kids excited about Summer Reading,” said Alyce Jackson, Manager of Programming for Peoria Public Library. “The buzz and exposure to partners like Peoria Public Schools, Common Place, Early Head Start and Tri-County Urban League, just to name a few, is no doubt part of why our participation is up double digits this year. We’ve already been talking about when, not if, we do this again.”
Overall, Summer Reading participation is up 20 percent in 2019 compared to 2018, with more than 3,900 people of all ages agreeing to read at least 20 minutes a day from June 2 through July 20.
“During the school year, students often don’t have a choice about what they read. In the summer, we want them to reawaken their imagination by reading what they like,” said Peoria Public Library Executive Director Randall Yelverton. “But there’s also a practical reason to sign up for Summer Reading. Reading over the summer prevents the ‘summer slide’ or loss of reading skills.”
Researchers also believe the summer slide is cumulative, with struggling readers two years behind peers by the time they reach middle school, according to studies noted in the latest Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report. Awareness of the summer slide continues to increase, according to the report, from 48 percent of parents aware to 53 percent, but that hasn’t necessarily translated into more readers.
“Thirty-two percent of kids ages 15-17 said the number of books they read over the summer was zero, up sharply since 2016 (22%),” the report states. And it was double for kids ages 9-11. In 2016, 7 percent of them said they didn’t read any books over the summer. In 2018, it was 14 percent.
“The children in our Summer Reading program enjoy it so much. You can tell it’s not something they see as a chore,” Yelverton said. “We just have to keep working to get the word out and, of course, remind parents that they can do Summer Reading too. Children are great mimickers.”
In addition to a new kick-off party, Peoria Public Library also hosted a Summer Reading party just for adults this year. The party featured live music, food trucks, indoor and outdoor games, a henna artist and prizes, including two free tickets to see Hamilton: The Exhibition in Chicago.
This was in addition to the continuing tradition of the children’s party at Peoria Riverfront Museum and the Summer Reading bike giveaway at Lincoln Branch.
“We have wonderful sponsors who help us collect small weekly prizes for the kids and help us put on a spectacular end-of-summer party,” said Jackson, “But we’re always looking for ways to be more connected to the community too. I think we’ve found a great partnership with Align Peoria and Peoria Public Schools. We’re excited to grow Summer Reading even more next year.”

Thank you to our Sponsors!
Friends of Peoria Public Library
Bradley University
Brookfield Zoo
Chili’s Grill & Bar
Dairy Queen
Elevate Trampoline Park
Little Raven Eatery
Monical’s Pizza
Peoria Chiefs
Peoria Riverfront Market
Peoria Symphony Orchestra
Sewing Center II
Taco Bell
Thirty-thirty Coffee Co.
Wheels O’ Time Museum
Wildlife Prairie Park
Zen Nail Lounge

Read and Ride: A Tradition

Rewind 20 years ago when Cynthia Smith was a new children’s librarian at Lincoln Branch Library.
“It was so quiet. You could count on one hand how many kids came in the building (for Summer Reading.)” Smith said.
If the kids wouldn’t come to her, Smith was determined to go to them.
“I decided I was going to go to the schools, and I was going to take a bike,” for them to win. She bought the first bike. She recalls it was a shiny red boy’s bike.
“I went classroom to classroom, and they were so excited. It just snowballed from there.”
Today, 20 years later, Smith oversees the entire Lincoln Branch. Her Summer Reading program has blossomed into nearly 500 children (0-18) taking part this summer, and nearly 650 if you add in the adults. And bikes are still a big part of the draw.
The Lincoln Branch, which opened in 1911 thanks to a $20,000 gift from Andrew Carnegie, mainly serves the South Side of Peoria, which has higher rates of poverty and crime than some parts of Peoria. Transportation to the annual, all-ages Summer Reading party at the Peoria Riverfront Museum is a problem for many of the children who participate in Summer Reading at Lincoln Branch. So, Smith’s bike giveaway is their main celebration.
“In a way, it is, because of the transportation issue, but I always encourage them to go to the museum party.”
Not every child will get a bike, but Smith does her best to secure as many as she can through other non-profits, businesses and individuals. Last year, 77 brand-new, gleaming bikes were given away to Summer Readers through random drawings.
“I always invite (the donors) to come and pull names,” Smith said. “When they see how many kids are here and how excited they are, they usually say, ‘We need to give more.’”
When bike giveaway day comes, every inch of the library is taken up with children and bicycles. There is not a bit of peace and quiet. Smith’s days as a lonely children’s librarian are, happily, long gone.
“It gets crazy. It’s going to be loud. And that’s how we like it.”

Peoria Speaks: ART Inc.

Nikki and Jonathon Romain are on a quest to inspire and empower the community through the arts, and they’re eager to talk about it at our next installment of Peoria Speaks from 6-7:30 p.m., Aug. 27 at Lakeview Branch, 1137 W. Lake Ave. Free and open to the public. No registration required.
The founders of ART, Inc. (Artists ReEnvisioning Tomorrow) have turned a shuttered school into a community arts center. Both accomplished artists who have performed and had their work exhibited across the U.S., the Romains are now focused on investing in local youth.
Peoria Speaks is a monthly community discussion program focused on topics of interest to Peorians. Funding is provided by Illinois Humanities through the Illinois Speaks program, which is aimed at strengthening the democratic process through community dialogues across the state of Illinois.