107 NE Monroe Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070

Show Your Commitment to Literacy by Supporting StoryWalk!

Peoria Public Library plans to bring literacy to a new audience via the first StoryWalk in Peoria! StoryWalk uses pedestals to bring pages of a picture book to an outdoor path so families can read a picture book together as they take a walk around a park or trail. With your help, Peoria Public Library will install the first local StoryWalk at Columbia Park around the Peoria Public Library McClure Branch.

Each of the project’s 20 pedestals comes with a price tag of $425 and the Peoria Public Library is asking for the public’s help to create the project. Sponsor one or more pedestals and your name or organization will appear on a plaque on the pedestal, letting visitors see your commitment to literacy in Peoria. Donations are tax-deductible and should be made to the Friends of Peoria Public Library.

The books in StoryWalk can be changed out periodically so that there is something new and exciting to read on return visits.

The StoryWalk project was created by Anne Ferguson of Monpelier, Vermont and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library. Peoria Public Library is working with Peoria Park District to place StoryWalk in Columbia Park. For more information please contact programming@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us or call (309) 497-2000.

Put Summer Reading on Your Calendar Now!

In just two months the long, lazy days of summer will be packed with everything from camp to vacations to cookouts and trips to the pool. Plan now to make participation in the Peoria Public Library Summer Reading program, “It’s Showtime at Your Library,” a priority!

Summer Reading is for all ages and offers weekly prizes as well as an invitation to a grand party for those who complete six of seven weeks of the program. The program runs from June 2 to July 20 and participants only have to read three hours per week and then report their reading at their favorite branch.

Not only is Summer Reading the best possible way to keep students reading at grade level during the summer break, but it’s a great way for seniors to keep minds active and families to do an activity they can enjoy together.

You can sign up at any Peoria Public Library branch or on the Bookmobile, starting in May and then begin reporting your reading in June. Summer comes fast! Plan now to be a Summer Reader!

Autism Resource Group at Lakeview Branch

By Elise Hearn

The Autism Resource Group began two years ago to respond to the need of support for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This monthly library program provides a time and space for parents to discuss the challenges and successes in raising a child on the spectrum. While not an official support group, this program allows parents to talk about all aspects of raising a child with autism among people who are facing a similar situation.  

Typically the Autism Resource Group meetings are a casual discussion group between parents.  Approximately once every quarter a guest speaker is brought in to shed some light on a common topic that the group has discussed.  Past speakers have presented topics such as: Transitioning from School to Adulthood and Assistive Technology and Executive Functioning. 

The Autism Resource Group meets on the third Saturday of every month at the Lakeview Branch from 10:00am-1:00pm.  While the meeting time is long it is also flexible.  Parents arrive and leave on their own schedule; sometimes staying only an hour and other times for the entire duration. Older children are welcome to read, use our public computers, or build with the Lakeview Branch collection of LEGO bricks while parents are in the meeting.  Younger children are welcome to stay in the room and play with provided toys. 

Lakeview Branch offers more than just the Autism Resource Group for families impacted by autism.  Monthly Sensory Storytimes, Sensory Friendly Family Films, and Sensory Art are offered to specifically meet the needs of children with autism and their families.  We also invite families to join us at any of our programming as all Peoria Public Library programs are welcome to everyone.

Uh-Oh, Black Sheep...

By Amber Lowery

Every person researching their family history is secretly hoping to find that one ancestor, or even a connection, to someone illustrious. They want to tease out and prove a relationship to impress others with. Visions of awed faces, gasps, and crashed glassware dance in their heads as they imagine dropping that precious bit of information on unsuspecting family members. Sadly, not everyone is related to royalty. Sometimes, though, it is not about finding the famous possible relations, but the infamous ones.

You know the ones I mean…the black sheep of the family; the ones that are mentioned in whispers at family gatherings and being compared to them is the height of insult. Now, to be fair, not all black sheep are as rotten as we have been lead to believe. There are plenty of “saints” among the “sinners.”

That said, time does change perceptions of people and how they lived. Whereas being divorced or an unwed parent may have once been the height of scandal; today, we hardly blink at such scenarios, except to get more details. But they do explain how families can be torn apart (even if we find the reasoning odd by today’s standards). 

A discovery of a lawbreaker or a scoundrel amongst your kin, such as the gambler who was shot playing cards or the traveling salesman who had multiple families in different cities, could actually provide a great story to tell at the next reunion or in the family Facebook group. Finding those who were hardened criminals, violent offenders, or even murderers, while fascinating information, is just that; a little nugget of news for your tree, not necessarily someone you want to emulate. But that is the thing about genealogy, we take both the good and the bad.

If you are struggling with ne’er-do-wells on your tree, come by the library and see if we can help you with your research. We have numerous databases and resources for your use at the Main Library in the Local History and Genealogy section. Ask our knowledgeable staff for help. We are not sheepish when it comes to assisting our patrons in their research.

Hot New Titles Coming to the Library in April

By Robin Helenthal

Lights All Night Long is a debut novel by Lydia Fitzpatrick which begins when Illya, a fifteen-year-old gifted Russian student, passes an exam which will allow him to go to America as a foreign exchange student. His older brother Vladimir also wanted to escape to America but instead became a petty thief and drug addict and got pulled into the underworld in their home town of Berlozhniki. Ilya struggles to adjust to life in the small town of Leffie, Louisiana where he lives with the Mason family in their large house with multiple bedrooms, bathrooms and a heated outdoor swimming pool. It is a huge change from the tiny apartment he shared with his mother, grandmother and brother. When Illya learns that Vladimir has been accused of killing three young women and after confessing is waiting to be sentenced, Illya with the help of his host family’s oldest daughter Sadie, searches online for information about the three girls who were murdered. He pieces together enough clues that he discovers the corruption and betrayal that put Vladimir in prison. This is a novel of the bond between two brothers determined to find their way back to each other and the pull of homes both local and adopted.

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal is the story of a pilgrimage to India, by the three Punjabi Shergill sisters, Rajni, Jezmeen and Shrinia to carry out the death bed wish of their mother. She requested that they make the trip to the Golden Temple in Amritsar to carry out her final rites. Rajni, is a school principal and has always been an obedient daughter and even though she vowed never to return to India, she can’t refuse her mother’s last request. Jazmeen is a struggling actress who has just been fired from her television job, so this will be a trip to help her pick up the pieces of her broken career and Shirina the “good” sister who married into a wealthy family and seems to be living the perfect life is hoping the time away will help her decide whether to obey her pushy in-laws or stand up for herself for the first time in her married life on an important decision in her marriage. When the sisters arrive in India, they make discoveries about themselves and their mother. They also learn more about the trip that Rajni took with their mother many years ago, a journey that resulted in their mother never being able to return to India again.

The Editor by Steven Rowley begins when James Smale finally sell his novel to an editor at a major publishing house. The editor turns out to be Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. She loves the autobiographical novel that exposes his dysfunctional family but when the book’s impending publication threatens to loosen the fragile relationships within his family and with his partner, James is unable to finish the text. As the friendship between Jackie and James grows, she pushes him to finish the book and to go home and deal with the relationship with his mother. When a long-time family secret is revealed, James comes to understand that his editor had a plan that went beyond the printed page.

Under the Table by Stephanie Evanovich begins when Midwesterner Zoey Sullivan escapes a failing marriage and moves in with her older sister Ruth in New York. Zoey is giving herself three months in the city to clear her head and make a new start. She begins by pursuing her passion for cooking by catering some private dinners and parties. When she meets millionaire, Tristan Malloy, she falls in love with his kitchen, a marble and stainless steel culinary dream and also decides to help makeover the shy and socially awkward computer programmer. Zoey realizes that she may have found her perfect match but is Tristan aware that her feelings for him have changed. And what is going to happen now that her ex is in town trying to win her back?

Meet the New Manager of North Branch!

Peoria Public Library is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer J. Jacobsen-Wood as the new manager of North Branch. Jennifer said, “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Peoria Public Library.  Peoria Public Library has a great reputation within the area, with each branch being unique and providing great patron services.”

 Jennifer stated her goal for North Branch is to continue the tradition of being friendly and welcoming. “I want everyone to love the library as much as I do.  We have so much to offer, from meeting and study rooms, books and movies, computers and quiet spaces; we are a center of the community and a cornerstone of democracy,” she said. 

In the few weeks Jennifer has been at the helm she has found that she enjoys the “absolutely lovely” North Branch but, “even better has been my interaction with patrons. Everyone has been welcoming and friendly,” she said.

 The new manager is impressed that her staff has been incredibly helpful as she learns the ropes proving her favorite library quote “The most important asset of any library goes home at night – the library staff,” by Timothy Healy, to be true. 

Jennifer previously was employed as the Technical Services Manager at Alpha Park Library where she managed a staff of technical service workers and pages as well as worked at the information desk, filled in at check-out, and ran a few programs.  She said that she  loved that mix of job duties and that her new position offers a similar array of patron interactions, management functions, and working with other staff.

Jennifer spends her free time on a trail, or the streets of Peoria, preparing for  long-distance running events and her pro-tip to all fellow runners, walkers, and hikers is that the library has two excellent apps for downloadable audiobooks, Libby and Axis360, saying, “They make the time on your feet fly by!”

Jennifer said, “Please, I welcome everyone to stop by the North Branch and meet me, interacting with patrons is my favorite part of working at a library.”

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant Fills March with Events

This year’s Peoria Reads! NEA Big Read selection, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast is a memoir in graphic novel form and tells the story of her journey with her parents as they age and pass away. A wide variety of events and discussions based on the book take place in March and all are free and open to the public.

Talk about the book on Sunday, March 3 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Methodist College, 7600 North Academic Drive, Peoria with Marjorie Getz, professor of arts and sciences at Methodist College and at 4:00 p.m. attend Death Café also at Methodist College. A Death Café is a scheduled discussion about death and dying. Colleen Karn, Assistant Professor of English & Humanities at Methodist College, will facilitate this discussion of understanding death and making the most of life.

Monica Vest Wheeler will share her experiences with those who have suffered loss and still found life to be enjoyed on Saturday, March 23 from 2:00 to 3:45 p.m. at Lakeview Branch. Based on her work with cancer and stroke survivors, she will provide a positive, yet realistic, presentation related to how there IS life still to be enjoyed and discovered after a serious injury or illness or disease, whether you’re the patient, survivor or caregiver. Monica’s talk will be followed by Death Café, a discussion about death and dying.

A “Can’t We Talk: An End of Life Symposium” will be presented by Methodist College on Wednesday, March 27 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Methodist College and will feature six breakout sessions including “Can’t We Talk About Finance,” and other pertinent topics.

On Sunday, March 3 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at North Branch, Veronica Haskell, owner of the Haskell Funeral and Cremation Services, will discuss “having the talk of a lifetime.” She will provide us with a glimpse into a day in the life of the Peoria-area’s first comfort dog.

See the calendar in this issue of Passages or on the website for a complete list of events in March and April.

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

Streaming Video With Your Library Card Coming in March!

Beginning this March, Peoria Public Library will join over 4, 000 other libraries who offer the streaming video service Kanopy to their patrons.  With your library card and the app, you will be able to stream up to 8 movies a month.

Kanopy offers what it calls, ‘thoughtful entertainment’ including documentaries, independent films, the Criterion Collection, Great Courses and more.  The collection offers a total of 30,000 titles  with new films added each month. You have the ability to watch with your favorite apps including Roku, iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google Chromecast.  Apps can be downloaded from your favorite app store. You will log in with your library card. Instructions will also be available at www.peoriapubliclibrary.org under the Downloads tab on the menu.

The New York Times called Kanopy, “A garden of cinematic delights” while CBCnews calls Kanopy, “A treasure trove…arguably, the greatest assortment of international art cinema under one roof.”

Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day

By Amber Lowery

Top o’ the morning to ye! Ah, yes, it is that time of year again. We drag out our greenest finery, hunt down shamrocks, and start cooking the corned beef and cabbage. We spout phrases like “Erin Go Bragh” and sing “Oh Danny Boy” at the top of our lungs.  But did you know you can use the library to learn more about the lives and languages of the Emerald Isle?

Peoria Public Library has a subscription to an extraordinary database called Mango Languages. It has lessons for 71 languages currently, including Irish. The lessons are self-guided so you can study in your own time at your own pace. You can use your library card for guest access or sign up for free to keep track of your progress.  Learning another language can be extremely useful when it comes to reading old records from our ancestors’ homelands.

We also have several databases to help with your genealogical research, such as AncestryLibrary, HeritageQuest, and Newsbank. Each of these can be extremely helpful in guiding you in your discovery of your ancestors and their lives. Find out how and when your ancestors came to America. Use the records to determine just how many of your ancestors came from Ireland. 

Beyond the computer, we have books that tell of the Great Potato Famine and the immigration of the Irish people to America for all ages. The Local History and Genealogy area has a collection of articles and news pieces about prominent Irish folk who came to Peoria and made their home here. We have  microfilm that covers global issues in history, telling the stories of the past. Through interlibrary loan, we can also access material from other libraries that may help you in whatever your quest may be.

Consider your ancestors and what they may have gone through to learn a new language in a new and strange homeland. Marvel at how resilient they were to thrive and survive. Study their history in our Local History and Genealogy collection. Learn about their lives here at the library. And, if you have any questions, feel free to come by the Main Library or our branches and ask our wonderful staff at the Peoria Public Library. We are here to help you find the information you seek. Sláinte.

Hot New Titles Coming in March 2019

By Robin Helenthal

Silent Night by Danielle Steel
Paige Watts is the ultimate stage mother. The daughter of Hollywood royalty, Paige channels her acting dreams into making her own daughter, Emma, a star. By the age of nine, Emma is playing a central role in a hit TV show. Then everything is shattered by unforeseeable tragedy. Now Emma is living with her aunt Whitney, who had chosen a very different path from her sister’s. Whitney was always the studious older sister, hating the cult of celebrity that enveloped their childhood. Instead, she is a psychiatrist who lives for her work and enjoys a no-strings-attached love affair with a wealthy venture capitalist. But at a moment’s notice, Whitney drops everything to help her niece. Once famous, outgoing, and charismatic, Emma is now a shadow of her former self—without speech, without memory, lost and terrified. But with her aunt Whitney’s help, along with a team of caregivers and doctors, Emma begins to find her way, starting her young life all over again—and changing the lives of everyone around her. Emotionally gripping and richly involving, Silent Night explores how the heart has mysterious healing powers of its own, and blessings happen when we think all is lost.

The Perfect Alibi by Phillip Margolin
The “master of heart-pounding suspense”—New York Times bestseller Phillip Margolin—returns with a new legal thriller starring Robin Lockwood. A young woman accuses a prominent local college athlete of rape. Convicted with the help of undisputable DNA evidence, the athlete swears his innocence and threatens both his lawyer and his accuser as he's sent to prison. Not long after, there's another rape and the DNA test shows that the same person committed both rapes—which is seemingly impossible since the man convicted of the first rape was in prison at the time of the second one. Now, the convicted athlete, joined by a new lawyer, is granted a new trial and bail. Shortly thereafter, his original lawyer disappears and his law partner is murdered. Robin Lockwood is a young lawyer with a prestigious small law firm and a former MMA fighter who helped pay for Yale Law School with her fighting career. She is representing the victim of the first rape for her civil lawsuit against her rapist, who is now convinced the rapist is stalking her and trying to intimidate her. At the same time, another client is up on a murder charge—one that should be dismissed as self-defense—but the D.A. trying the case is determined to bring it to trial. Now she has to mastermind two impossible cases, trying to find the hidden truth that links the two of them.

Runaway by Harlan Coben
A perfect family is shattered in Run Away, the new thriller from the master of domestic suspense, Harlan Coben. You've lost your daughter. She's addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she's made it clear that she doesn't want to be found. Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she's not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble. You don't stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home. She runs. And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line. And in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you must face them head on.