107 NE Monroe Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070

Peoria Public Library is OPEN for BRIEF BROWSING and COMPUTER APPOINTMENTS. Contact-Free CURBSIDE PICKUP is still available.




Due to a power outage, Lincoln Branch closed at 5:00 p.m. today (Thursday, October 22).


Blogs by author "tjnoack"

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.

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.





How the Library can help you with Affordable Health Care

  Peoria Public Library is hosting Heartland Health Care in 30 sessions in library computer labs over the next few months as well as offering an information portal at www.peoriapubliclibrary.org under the Research tab to help the public understand the process of applying for health care insurance, and find the correct web links to do so, under the new law.
  The Insurance Marketplace opens October 1 and during this first year, remains open until March. Under the Affordable Health Care Act, everyone must have health insurance or pay a penalty at tax time. The information consumers need to know about who should apply and what they need to do can be found collected at http://www.peoriapubliclibrary.org/healthcare-portal.
  People desiring help from a trained counselor are invited to come to Main Library on the first and third Tuesdays as well as the first Saturdays or to Lincoln Branch on the second and fourth Tuesdays through December 14.
  Librarians and counselors are not able to help insurance seekers decide what plan to buy, however they can point the way to correct information, helping them avoid scams and walking them through the process of applying.
  Those who have health care insurance, are on Medicare or have Veteran’s benefits do not need to apply for new insurance.

Illinois Humanities Council to Fund Books for Peoria Reads!

Illinois Humanities Council Awards $36,653 in Grants; Next Cycle Ends Soon


CHICAGO, IL- December 17, 2013—The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) Board of Directors has awarded a total of $36,653  to nine nonprofit organizations across Illinois for development and production of public humanities projects. Community support for these projects totaled $359,372. The grantees are:

  • People and Place: An Exhibit on Irish and Mexican Immigration in Galesburg - Knox College ($1,275) Funding to support an exhibit and panel discussion about the experiences of Mexican and Irish immigrants who arrived in Galesburg in the mid- to late nineteenth century.
  • Moving Dialogues - Audience Architects ($5,000) Funding to extend the series Moving Dialogues: Global Exchange to a series of six public conversations, focusing this time on communities where English is a second language.
  • Completing the Circle, the Life of Dr. Carlos Montezuma - University of Illinois, Champaign ($4,578) Funding to support a documentary film on the life and accomplishments of Dr. Carlos Montezuma, the first Native American graduate of the University of Illinois.
  • Carl Sandburg in Elmhurst - Elmhurst Heritage Foundation ($3,300) Funding to support a series of programs between December 2013 and April 2014 commemorating the author and poet’s connection to Elmhurst, Illinois.
  • "Displaced" to "This Place" - Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture ($5,000) Funding to support a year-long exhibition and accompanying series of public programs called Displaced this Place beginning April 2014.
  • Reconstructing Haiti - Northern Illinois University ($4,850) Funding to support a series of public forums beginning January 2014, complementing an exhibition on the 2010 earthquake in Haiti at the Anthropology Museum in Dekalb, Illinois.
  • General Support Grant - Lincoln-Sargent Farm Foundation ($5,000) Funding to support a year-long series of activities for students and the community, at the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historical Site, beginning January 2014.
  • Peoria Reads "Warriors Don't Cry" - Peoria Public Library ($2,500) Funding to support public programs related to Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High, the selection for the 2014 edition of Peoria Reads.
  • General Support Grant - The Poetry Center of Chicago ($5,000) Funding to support the work of the Poetry Center of Chicago, which provides programs year-wide that use poetry as a catalyst for community achievement.

The IHC invites nonprofit organizations to apply for its next cycle of grant awards by January 15, 2014. Any nonprofit group, organization, or institution is eligible to apply for financial support from the lHC. The IHC funds public projects in the humanities, including documentary films, local and community history projects, literary symposia, and oral history projects. Nonprofits with annual budgets of $250,000 or less can apply for technical assistance grants, and nonprofits with a primary focus on the humanities can apply for general support grants. 

Potential applicants may review and download grant applications and guidelines by visiting www.prairie.org/grants. Please call 312.422.5580 or send an email to ihc@prairie.org. IHC program officers are available for consultation, and new applicants are encouraged to contact program officers for grant advice. 

The IHC makes it a priority to fund projects developed by, for, or aimed at reaching new or historically neglected audiences. The IHC also encourages applications for projects about American history and culture.

For more information about the IHC or the grants program, please call 312.422.5580 or visit www.prairie.org

About the Illinois Humanities Council

The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) is an educational organization dedicated to making the humanities a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities in Illinois, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. This year, it marks 40 years of developing or funding educational activities and programs throughout the state, including lectures, seminars, performances, exhibitions, films, library discussions, and written materials – all free and open to the public. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit (501 [c] 3) supported by state, federal, and private funds.

Media Contact:
Carlos Velázquez
(312) 422-5580, x233

- See more at: http://www.prairie.org/news/illinois-humanities-council-awards-36-653-grants-next-cycle-ends-soon#sthash.LsdoYY6o.dpuf

This Month in Peoria History: April

by Ellie Nielsen

4-3-1839: The cornerstone of Jubilee College was laid on this date.

4-26-1879: It was announced that wires would be strung over the entire city of Peoria for the telephone company.

4-11-1884: The City Brewery was purchased by the Leisy Bros of Keokuk, IA.

4-3-1897: A small cyclone did a great deal of damage in downtown Peoria.

4-14-1903: Officials began razing one of Peoria’s earliest schools, Hinman School at 511-513 Monson St.

4-20-1907: The first interurban car ran from Bloomington to Peoria.

4-20-1910: It was announced that Anheuser-Busch would be building a flat iron block at Knoxville and Main.

4-15-1926: The first air mail plane arrived at Peoria from Chicago on this day. Charles Lindbergh was the pilot.

4-3-1958: A W Oakford presented a 17 volume pictorial history of Peoria to Librarian William Bryan of the Peoria Public Library.

“The air mail arrives!” announced the front page of the Peoria Evening Star on April 15, 1926. This marked the first-ever mail delivery to Peoria by airplane, flown by pilot Lieutenant Charles A. Lindbergh. About 50 Peorians came to greet him when he landed. Lindbergh was hired by the Robertson Aircraft Corporation in late 1925 to serve as chief pilot for the air mail service between St. Louis and Chicago, which included stops in Springfield and Peoria. The newspaper from that day states that he brought 918 pieces of Peoria mail with him from New York and Chicago and received 540 pieces of mail which were then “dispatched from Peoria to Springfield and St. Louis.” A little more than a year after this event, Lindbergh would achieve international fame by making the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris in the Spirit of St. Louis. On February 20 and 21, 1928, Lindbergh returned to his old air mail route with the purpose of promoting the U.S. Air Mail Service, once again making a stop in Peoria. This time he was received by a throng of about 10,000 Peorians.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Free Library Apps Make Use Easy

Many of the online services from Peoria Public Library are now available through apps for your smartphone or tablet that you can download from the Playstore or the App Store.  Try Freegal Music and Freegal Movies for entertainment wherever you are.  To download e-books or audio books anytime of the day or night, look for the Axis360 and Overdrive apps. Take language learning with you wherever you go with the Mango Language app! Learn 60 languages, including English for ESL learners. Brainfuse homework help also now has an app. Students of all ages can set up an account on a computer and then use it on their tablet or phone. Brainfuse has live one-on-one tutoring and a wide variety of resources for students of all ages. Get an app today and enjoy the Peoria Public Library wherever you are!

Summer Reading Success

Another year of Summer Reading has been wrapped up! Peoria Public Library engaged almost 4, 000 readers of all ages in the seven week program that required just three hours a week of reading. Each week readers received a small weekly prize, ranging from magnetic bookmarks to chip clips to small pouches and ice cream coupons. Almost 1,000 summer readers who read at least six weeks then enjoyed a night out at Peoria Riverfront Museum and Caterpillar Visitor Center. They explored life as an astronaut, saw The Street, enjoyed the Planetarium and climbed in and out of enormous earth-moving machines -- all with wildly painted faces and fantastic balloon hats and animals. The program was made possible by the Friends of Peoria Public Library and many, many other generous sponsors. Summer Reading starts again next June, be sure to join us!

What Do You Think About the Opiate Abuse Epidemic?

Talk with other concerned citizens about Peoria's opiate abuse epidemic at one of four discussions moderated by Mike Kennedy, president and CEO of the Human Service Center.

• Saturday, October 22 from 1:00 to 2:15 p.m. at Peoria Public Library Main Library Auditorium

• Wednesday, November 2 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. at Peoria Public Library Lakeview Branch Lakeview Room

• Monday, November 7 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. at Peoria Public Library North Branch McKenzie Room

• Thursday, November 17 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. at Peoria Public Library Lincoln Branch Hot Air Balloon Room

To attend any of these discussions, please contact Roberta Koscielski at 309-497-2186 or RobertaKoscielski@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us.


These programs were funded by an Illinois Speaks micro-grant from the Illinois Humanities Council and are designed to support efforts to understand and find solutions for the heroin and opiate epidemic that is occurring locally.

“The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, the IHC, our partnering organizations or our funders.”

Two named to Lincoln Branch Hall of Fame

Peoria Public Library Lincoln Branch Hall of Fame has its first two inductees and they will be honored by the Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees, staff, family and friends during a ceremony on Tuesday, November 15 at 4:00 p.m. at Lincoln Branch.
Being honored are Henry Pindell Slane and Kathleen Powers Ditewig. Slane, who headed the Peoria Journal Star for more than 30 years, made the largest contribution on record to Peoria Public Library, donating $500,000 to repair Lincoln Branch inside and out in 1993. Ditewig, an ordinary citizen of the Lincoln Branch neighborhood, ran a massive grass roots campaign in 1970 that rallied the masses and convinced the Library Board to keep the branch open after its imminent closure was announced.
In order to honor the extraordinary dedication of the many who stepped up when Lincoln Branch was in need, the Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees established a Hall of Fame in March of 2016. Lincoln Branch, an original Carnegie Library, has survived for over 100 years continuously as a library and has been completely renovated and restored and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The Branch offers a wide variety of programs and materials for all ages and serves as an anchor for the neighborhood. In 2016, almost 100,000 people had visited the branch by the end of October.
The Lincoln Branch Hall of Fame will have plaques on the wall of the Carnegie Room to memorialize the contributions of Hall of Fame inductees. The public is invited to attend the ceremony.

E-Read Illinois Adds Browser-Based Reading

On December 5, Baker & Taylor released a browser-based reader for Axis 360 e-books to eRead Illinois libraries that allows users to access e-books from their browser without having to download any additional apps or software. The reader is compatible with Chromebooks through the Chrome browser and with Mac and Windows based computers through Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. eRead Illinois libraries will be among the first in the country to have access to the browser-based reader. This is particularly helpful for schools and others that want to read on a computer, not a device. For help, call (309) 497-2000.

Tea Time January 12 Explores Tea Facts

     As we are firmly into the winter season and the temperature drops, we often look to ways to warm ourselves.  One of the best and tastiest ways is with a hot cup of tea to wrap our chilled hands around.  There are endless facts and tidbits out there about teas but here are ten fun facts to warm your mind while you enjoy while you sip at your tea. 
1. You need about 2,000 tiny leaves to make one pound of finished tea.  Tea plants grow in        the wild in parts of Asia but they can also be planted and farmed.  The best teas comes          from high elevations and are hand-picked. (1)
2. Tea didn’t reach Europeans until the late 16th century.  People in the Middle East and            Asia have been using ceramic teapots and drinking tea for over 11,000 years. (1)
3. Britain is the 2nd largest drinking nation with Ireland being the largest.  The US drinks         1.42 million pounds of tea every day. (2)
4. Earl Grey tea was named after a 19th century British diplomat to China. (3)
5. Legend tells that tea was discovered in China, in 2737 BCE, by Emperor Shen Nung.  A       few tea leaves had fallen into his boiling pot of water.  The habit of drinking steeped tea       leaves became popular later in the Ming Dynasty (13-68-1644.) (4)
6. Herbal infusions are not considered teas but are actually tisanes. (5)
7. In the US, the Northeast and South have the most tea drinkers. (6)
8. It takes about three years for a new tea plant to be ready to harvest. But it takes between       four and twelve years for it to start producing seeds.  Also, at least fifty inches of rain a       year is needed for plants. (6)
9. Tea is not just for drinking.  It helps to heal shaving cuts, can be used as a marinade for         meat, is a great fertilizer for roses, and is also good for cleaning floors.  (7)
10. In 2014, a tea company in Saudi Arabia set the Guinness World Record for largest tea           bad made.  It weighed in at just over 551 lbs and was 9.8’ wide by 13’ high.  That                  teabag could be used to brew over 100,000 cups of tea.  (8)

If you’d like to know more fun facts about tea or just have a fun afternoon with other tea lovers, join us on Thursday Jan 12th from 3:00-4:00pm at the North Branch for our Cozy Adult Tea Time program.  We’ll talk about different tea rituals and tea etiquette, as well as learn more fun facts about tea. 

1. http://www.romantichomes.com/10-fun-facts-about-tea
2. http://www.notimeliketeatime.com/26-interesting-facts-about-tea/
3. http://www.teaanswers.com/tea-facts-trivia/
4. http://www.therighttea.com/facts-about-tea.html
5. http://she-tea.com.au/7-interesting-facts-about-tea/
6. http://www.spinfold.com/amazing-facts-about-tea
7. http://www.finedininglovers.com/stories/tea-facts/
8. http://www.yourteahq.com/tea-fun-facts/

Harry Potter Book Read Night

Whether we first fell into the wizarding world through her written words, or were spellbound by the visuals of those words made into movies; JK Rowling has undeniably brought magic into the world. It’s been 20 years since we were first introduced to the “boy who lived,” and still we commemorate  this epic tale that begins with the line, “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number 4, Privet Drive were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”  Between movies, theme parks, plays, and a spin-off series, Muggles and No-Majs alike are VERY aware of the magic around us.

Working our own magic, on Thursday February 2, our Lakeview Branch will host a Harry Potter Book Read Night, part of an international event,  from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Grab your books and your floo powder, and come celebrate with us. Call to reserve your spot, (309) 497-2143 and practice your swish and flick. Study hard for that History of Magic test and get your selfie with Dobby. We will have discussions, crafts, and more. Don’t miss out on this magical night!  

Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day

by Amanda Doyle

On March 17th, the whole world celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. But March is so much more than just St. Patrick’s Day! March is Irish Heritage Month. Nearly 34.5 million Americans say they have some Irish heritage.  The Irish are known for their hard-working attitude as well as their colorful phrases.  In this month’s blog post, we’ll share some of the more humorous sayings, slang, and curses.

·        “Hello, how are you?” – “What’s the craic?”

·        “Off you go.” – “On yer bike.”

·        “Everything is good.” – “I’m pullin the devil by the tail.”

·        Reaction to something shocking/funny- “Ah be da Jaysus.”

·        A cup of tea- “Cup of scald

·        “Be careful!”  – “Sleep with yer good eye open.”

·        “I have something to tell you.”- “C’mere till I tell ye’.”

·        “Taste this.” – “Get yer laughing gear around this.”

·        Your father- “’ould fella

·        The boss- “gaffer

·        “Be Quiet.” – “Stall yer witts.” Or “Wheesht.”

·        Bed- “scratcher

·        Correct – “Bang on.”

·        “I don’t know.” – “Haven’t a baldy notion.”

·        “May you be plagues by a powerful itch and never have the nails to scratch it.”

·        “May you have a little skillet; May you have little in it. May you have to break it, To find a little bit in it.”

·        “May you find the bees but not the honey.”

·        “You’re as greedy as a leprechaun. May someone steal your pot of gold!”


All month long, Peoria Public Library is celebrating Irish Heritage Month. On Saturday, March 4 from 2:00-4:00pm, Barry Cloyd will be at the North Branch performing his “An Irish Immigrant’s Song.” Every Monday afternoon in March, from 2:00-4:00 pm, North Branch will be hosting an Irish movie- 3/4- “71”, 3/13- “In the Name of the Father”, 3/20- Angela’s Ashes, and 3/27- Quiet Man. On Saturday March 12 from 2:00-4:00pm, Music in the McKenzie will have the Irish/Celtic folk band “Turas.” 

There will also be a display in the Local History and Genealogy department on Irish Immigration and a display in the Wheeler Case about Irish Coffin Ships.  For more information please visit our website: www.peoriapubliclibrary.org     


May the road rise up to meet you.” 

Freegal Celebrates Women in Music

Women In Music History

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 03:52 AM PST

In celebration of Women's History Month this March, we're highlighting awe-inspiring women musicians who have brought their art to a new level. Read on and recall some former favorite tunes or discover some revolutionary sounds. All of the artists discussed below are on the Freegal site, free to download or stream with your Peoria Public Library card and PIN.

In March of 1930, Ruth Crawford became the first woman to win the Guggenheim Fellowship. The honor is given annually to individuals who have demonstrated " exceptional creative ability in the arts". The award was given for the songs she wrote that were set to poems as well as her piano and violin compositions. Ms. Crawford was radically original for her time, and one of very few women composers. She is now considered one of the most important modernist composers of the 20th century. Later in life she married Charles Seeger and became involved with the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress. Her step-son Pete Seeger is a well known folk artist. 

According to Biography.com, Eleanora Fagan had a rather arduous childhood. She was raised by a young, single mother who never had it easy. Eleanora reportedly escaped by singing along to records by Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith.  When she was a little older, she followed her mother to New York City and started singing in clubs. She gave herself the stage name "Billie" after the film star Billie Dove. At only 18 years of age, Billie was discovered by a record producer while singing in a jazz club. The Billie Holiday we all know and love then started her career.  Ms. Holiday started to work with major artists such as Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Her fame exploded when she struck out on her own. It was at that time that she recorded some of her most well known songs such as "Strange Fruit" and "God Bless The Child". "Lady Day" as she is otherwise known, is considered one of the best jazz vocalists of all time.  She has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has influenced countless musicians. 

"It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" by Kitty Wells was the first #1 country song by a woman in music history per Rolling Stone. It was released in 1952. The song topped the charts despite it's being banned on NBC Radio because it talked about a woman "living the wild side of life". The tune included the lyric "It's a shame that all the blame is on us women". The song remained in the top spot for 6 weeks and then crossed over to be a hit on  Billboard pop charts. Ms. Wells sang other top charting songs such as "Paying for That Back Street Affair" and "Hey Joe".  She paved the way for many others. More influential female singers near that time such as Patsy Cline and Brenda Lee made sure that women stayed in the country music spotlight. Contemporary vocalists such as Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, The Dixie Chicks, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood keep breaking ground with their songs.
Aretha Franklin has excelled at singing gospel, pop, and R&B  music. She also earned international acclaim for her performance of the opera aria "Nessun Dorma" at the 1998 Grammy Awards.  An 18-time Grammy winner herself, Ms. Franklin was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On Rolling Stone's list of "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time", she is ranked as #1.   Signature hits such as "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" contributed to her becoming one of the best selling musicians of all time. 



Folk musician Joan Baez is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April of this year. Ms. Baez has been performing music professionally since she first sang at the Newport Folk Festival in 1959. It did not take long for her to become successful. Her second, third and fourth albums were all certified gold. In the early to mid sixties she was on the forefront of the American roots revival. She introduced her audiences to the then unknown Bob Dylan. Outstanding folk talents such as Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris cite her as a source of inspiration. In addition to being a talented singer, she was and is a tireless activist. The artist counted Martin Luther King Jr. as one of her friends and she is one of the founding members of Amnesty International. 


As the lead singer of the psychedelic rock band 'Big Brother and The Holding Company', Janis Joplin found success. The group's 1968 record "Cheap Thrills" was regarded as a "masterpiece of psychedelic sound" according to Billboard, and it went to #1. Shortly after that record, "Pearl" as Janis Joplin was sometimes called, went out on her own. The artist was advertised as a headliner for Woodstock in 1969, where she did perform. Ms. Joplin had she had many hit singles after that. The best selling album of her career, Pearl, was released after her death. It reached #1 on Billboard charts and has been certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. It also made Rolling Stone's list of the "Greatest Albums of All Time."

Like all of the genres discussed here, rock has so many important women musicians that it is difficult to limit them: Artist Patti Smith started to become influential in the punk rock movement with her LP "Horses"; Joan Jett has been nicknamed "The Godmother of Punk" and has three albums certified platinum or gold; Stevie Nicks helped Fleetwood Mac sell over 140 million records during their music career; the music of 14-time Grammy winner Bjork spans many genres. Bjork has also made Rolling Stone's list of the "Greatest Singers of All Time" and Time Magazine's List of "The 100 Most Influential People In The World". 

Music giants such as Carole King, Whitney Houston, Cher, Beyonce and Adele often dominate the world of pop. The Guinness Book of World Records cites Ms. Houston as "the most awarded female act of all time". She is the only musician in history to have seven consecutive #1 Billboard hits. Her second LP "Whitney" was the first album by a woman to debut at number one on the charts. Carole King was the first woman to be honored with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2013. She has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Singer/Songwriter Adele has numerous mentions in the Guinness Book of World Records. Her LP '21' has spent more time at #1 on Billboard charts than any album by a female singer in music history. Her hit song "Hello" became the first single to sell a million digital copies in the United States within a week of release. At the 2017 Grammys she won more awards than any artist this year including"Album of The Year" and "Song of The Year". 



In a Time of Conflicting News, Turn to Peoria Public Library

by Amanda Doyle

In today’s world we are being hit from all sides about what’s real news and what’s fake news. As a society we are being told contradictory stories at an alarming rate and it’s hard to know what to believe and what to ignore.

One great place to sort out the truth and do your own truth digging is your local library. Libraries offer a range of books, magazines, and databases that you can spend hours getting lost in.

On our public access computers, you can browse through databases such as: ABC-CLIO which is “a comprehensive, multidisciplinary reference resource, ABC-CLIO contains over 140,000 primary and secondary source materials covering a variety of subject areas, including ancient to modern world history and geography, current events, pop culture and much more” or ESBCO Host which is “a comprehensive database, containing a wealth of essential material for learning and research across the disciplines.”

Also the librarians at Peoria Public Library are there to help you search for anything you’re curious to know more about. Feel free to ask them questions and opinions as to what the best resources for your search are. 

Libraries are the epicenter for knowledge and they can transform your life. They encourage you to be curious about all things and want to help you in your quest for knowledge. Learn about the issues of today’s society or study what happened in the past. Libraries give you access to both options and can open up new worlds for people. We at Peoria Public Library strive to give you the best information we have at our finger tips and help you with search in figuring out what is the truth. 

Just diagnosed?

When you are told your health is being affected by a condition, you often do not get information you can understand from your doctor at that moment. Referral to a specialist or a dietician or further tests can draw out the diagnosis and understanding of your next steps. Turning to a broad internet search can give you all sorts of incorrect information. Start somewhere easy, with the DVD collection at Peoria Public Library. You will find easy to absorb information on everything from Type 2 diabetes to depression to cancer to arthritis. Educating yourself is often the first step to getting a grip on your new life and for most, watching a film is an easy way to start.

Next use the various databases and publications at Peoria Public Library to find out more. At www.peoriapubliclibrary.org under research you will find articles and under e-books you will find a wide variety of downloadable books to help you understand your condition or disease. Need help? Ask at any information desk, send in an email request or call so we can get you the vital information you need!

It’s All about the S.T.E.A.M.!

This summer Peoria Public Library is all about summer reading and challenges.  Not just reading challenges but S.T.E.A.M. challenges.  This year we’ve taken our summer reading program “Reading by Design” and added some S.T.E.A.M. to it.  So if you and your child are wanting to plunge into the world of science, technology, engineering, art, or math we’ve got you covered – in the shallow end at least.  Here’s a chance to get your feet wet and have a blast discovering the wonder of learning new things.

Do you know how to turn a penny green?  How about the ingredients for slime?  Or maybe you’d like to make a robot hand out of paper, tape, straws and string.  It can be done.  There’s instructions to make catapults out of craft sticks for plenty of pompom hurling.  Make an optical illusion or see if in a room of 23 people two will have the same birthday.  Do some online coding or tinker with some technology.  So much fun in one place.  Can’t choose?  “Eenie meenie minee mo” usually works for me or just do them all in order if you like. But do them.  Your kids will thank you.

Are you still sitting there reading this?  Click here , scroll down and start your child on the STEAM path to education and fun.  

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month

Since 1987, Library Card Sign-Up Month has been September. ALA picked September because it was the beginning of the school year and we believe all children need a local library card as an important helper during the school year. Now, while that started out focused on children and learning, it’s become so much more. Library cards are the most important super hero help that anyone can have.

One of the great things about library cards is saving money. Patrons have access to books, magazines, movies, music, and reference material. There’s no need to unnecessarily spend money on something you might not need and want. Along with saving money, library cards offer an unlimited world. To use most of Peoria Public Library’s databases, you need to have a Peoria Public Library card.

Peoria Public Library has a wide range of databases and helpful programs. For kids, we have databases with stories that are read to them, fun interactive games, and homework help. All of these can be accessed with a Peoria Public Library card. For adults, there are databases that help with genealogy research, job searching, finding news articles, practice tests for exams, and help with learning languages.

That simple little library card you have in your wallet, or on your keychain, is the most powerful thing you own. With a Peoria Public Library card, you can be any kind of superhero you want to be.


To find out more about our databases and what we offer, go to:



Best Sellers From Past Decades

by Jessica Gallo

“Best Sellers from Past Decades” – Explore what Americans were reading from the 1930s through the 1980s!  For February, we’ll take a look at the 1930s.

The 1930s were dominated by economic depression, drought, and growing concern over the Nazi threat in Europe.  Some readers faced the problems head-on, reading social commentary and economic primers, while others chose to escape into romance or adventure novels.  Notable authors of the decade whose works have stood the test of time include Pearl S. Buck, Willa Cather, Sinclair Lewis, Thornton Wilder, Margaret Mitchell, Virginia Woolf, John Steinbeck, and Daphne du Maurier. 

Some notable works from the time period are: The Good Earth by Buck; Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; Gone with the Wind by Mitchell; The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings; The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck; The Thinking Reed by Rebecca West; Northwest Passage by Kenneth Roberts; Rebecca by du Maurier; The Citadel by A.J. Cronin.

Sinclair Lewis published It Can’t Happen Here, a fictional, cautionary tale about the rise of fascism in America.  How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie has coached generations of readers in their efforts to find personal and professional success.  Novels published in the 30s that had a lasting impact in the form of sequels, movies, and television productions include Captain Horatio Hornblower, which is a series of novels by C.S. Forester, The Citadel by A.J. Cronin, and Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen.

Some titles that found success at the time, but aren’t as well-remembered, include Miss Bishop by popular author Bess Streeter Aldrich, All This, and Heaven Too, a mystery by Rachel Field, Years of Grace, a Pulitzer winner by Margaret Ayer Barnes, and an inspirational novel by Lloyd C. Douglas called Green Light.

Some of the above titles can be found on the shelf at Peoria Public Library locations.  Others, especially the more obscure titles, are often available in various central Illinois libraries. 
See a staff member if you need help in placing a hold to get these works from other libraries.

Check back in April, when we’ll take a look at best-sellers from the 1940s!


Best Sellers from Past Decades: the 1950s

by Jessica Gallo

On the surface, the 1950s was a time of increased material prosperity and growth of the “suburban” lifestyle.  The stereotypical family consisted of a father with a successful career, a stay-at-home mother, and their clean-cut children.  Beneath the surface, though, stress simmered and anxiety stemmed from conflict both at home and abroad.  Here at home, people fought for civil rights and women’s rights.  Some chafed against the constraints they felt from trying to live up to the American ideal of success.  Stresses from overseas included the Cold War and fear of the spread of Communism, the Korean War, and the start of the Vietnam War. 

Novels in the 1950s had little tying them together in terms of an overriding theme.  Topics varied as widely as the experiences of their authors.  The decade gave us a wealth of enduring classics: Catcher in the Rye by Salinger, Lolita by Nabokov, Lord of the Flies by Golding, Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Capote, Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged are just a few.  Several of these books made the PBS list of 100 books for The Great American Read. For more information about The Great American Read check under the Events tab on this website.

1950 saw the first African-American winner of the Pulitzer in Gwendolyn Brooks (poetry – Annie Allen).  Ralph Ellison published Invisible Man, a novel about an idealistic young, black college graduate who fights to maintain his optimism in an America still plagued by racism.  And though the decade’s literature is often viewed as male-dominated, women, including Sylvia Plath, Shirley Jackson, Flannery O’Connor, and Edna Ferber, found both commercial and critical success.

One literary movement that stands out in the 1950s is the Beat movement. Centered mainly in bohemian artists’ communities in California and New York, Beat writers sought to liberate poetry from academics and make it accessible.  They felt alienated from society, celebrated non-conformity and spontaneous creativity, and they felt a strong connection to the Transcendentalists of the mid-19th century, including their focus on environmentalism.  Their writing was less formal and more profane, which led to obscenity trials for two of the movement’s most prominent names – Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs (Ginsberg and his publisher won, while the ban on Burroughs’s Naked Lunch was overturned on a later appeal).  These trials paved the way for a more liberal approach to publishing.  The most famous author to come out of the Beat movement was Jack Kerouac, whose On the Road is consistently ranked as one of the best novels of the twentieth century.

Many of the above titles can be found on the shelf at Peoria Public Library locations.  See a staff member if you can’t find what you want and need help in placing a hold to get these works from other libraries.

Check back in August, when we’ll take a look at best sellers from the 1960s!

2019 Big Read Grant Awarded to Peoria Reads!





Peoria Reads!  to Read and Celebrate Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

In Spring 2019


June 5, 2018—Peoria Reads! is a recipient of a grant of $6,575 to host the NEA Big Read in Peoria and the surrounding community. A national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Peoria Reads! is one of 79 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program between September 2018 and June 2019. The NEA Big Read in Peoria will focus on activities will take place in spring 2019.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant is by Roz Chast, a longtime cartoonist for the New Yorker and 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.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support opportunities for communities across the nation, both small and large, to take part in the NEA Big Read,” said NEA Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “This program encourages people to not only discuss a book together, but be introduced to new perspectives, discuss the issues at the forefront of our own lives, and connect with one another at events.”


The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.

Lead partners for Peoria Reads! are Peoria Public Library and Common Place.  Each year a variety of other community organizations participate including Bradley University, Illinois Central College, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Delta Kappa Gamma, Methodist College, Peoria Public Schools and Notre Dame High School and others. Peoria Reads! was founded in 2002.

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $19 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past eleven years, grantees have leveraged more than $44 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 4.9 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 82,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 39,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit arts.gov/neabigread. Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more about NEA.

Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit artsmidwest.org.

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“Best Sellers from Past Decades” – Explore what Americans were reading from the 1930s through the 1980s!

By Jessica Gallo

For August, we’ll take a look at the 1960s.

The 1960s were a time of social and political unrest in the United States. The decade saw major national events such as the Cuban missile crisis, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, and the Vietnam War. The public was able to stay up-to-date more easily with current events, with color television bringing breaking news footage directly into their living rooms; by the end of the decade, over ninety percent of homes had at least one television. People took to the streets to protest war, as well as inequalities based on race and gender. In pop culture, the Beatles were hugely popular, the British invasion was happening, the Motown and San Francisco sounds were popular, and the decade culminated in 1969 at Woodstock.

The literature of the 1960s was, of course, bound to reflect the politically charged climate of the era. Writers like Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller (Slaughterhouse-Five, Catch-22) utilized absurdity and black comedy to explore subjects like war and bureaucracy. To Kill a Mockingbird and Black Like Me are among the many works to deal with racism in America. Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, while black female writers (Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks) offered their own unique take on what it meant to belong to a racial minority and be a woman in an era when both groups faced inequality. The Beat poets, who had emerged after World War II, remained popular and influential due to their political and cultural criticism.

Aside from the political, two genres that changed or emerged in the 1960s were science fiction and the so-called “New Journalism.” Science fiction had to expand as a genre because many of the original themes, such as space exploration, had become a reality. Some notable titles include A Clockwork Orange, Dune, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Solaris. New Journalism was a style in which the author investigated a real-life subject using a journalistic approach, but then wrote in a style more suited to a novel. The writer immersed himself in learning about his subject, but wrote without the traditional objectivity of a reporter, opting instead to develop character and dialogue and writing in a distinct voice. The most famous example of this style is Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, published in 1965. Other notable authors using this style were Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese. Many of these works were serialized and published in magazines, as the format and the cost of producing them made them unappealing to newspaper publishers.

A few other works from the decade that stand the test of time are The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Valley of the Dolls, 100 Years of Solitude, The Outsiders, Rosemary’s Baby, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the Steve McQueen Collection, True Grit, Agatha Christie’s Poirot series, and several James Bond titles.

Some of the above titles can be found on the shelf at Peoria Public Library locations. Others, especially the more obscure titles, are often available in various central Illinois libraries.
See a staff member if you need help in placing a hold to get these works from other libraries.

Check back in October, when we’ll take a look at best sellers from the 1970s!

More Undertakers’ Records at Peoria Public Library

by Amber Lowery, Local History and Genealogy

Last year, an incredible part of Peoria’s history was rediscovered in a forgotten storage space, thanks to the work of Bob Hoffer. Undertakers’ Records for Peoria County 1872-1915 are an incredible wealth of information for those researching their family history in the Peoria area. The Peoria County Genealogical Society was granted permission to transcribe these records and make the information available. The first volume was completed last year to the delight of many. As of last week, the second book, covering from 1882-1899, was printed and bound in two volumes. Volumes 2A (1882-1890) and 2B (1890-1899) will be available for research in the Local History and Genealogy section of the Main Library.

“Best Sellers from Past Decades” – Explore what Americans were reading from the 1930s through the 1980s! 

Best Sellers of the 1970s

by Jessica Gallo

For October, we’ll take a look at the 1970s.

In many ways, the early 1970s were a continuation of the 1960s.  Several groups, including women and minorities, were still fighting for equal rights; the Vietnam War still dominated the news and inspired nationwide protests.  Gradually, though, members of the white middle class began to push back against the trend toward a more liberal government, instead wanting a return to traditional family values and political conservatism.  Eventually, however, the decade would be dubbed the “Me Decade,” due to waning interest in social issues and a stronger focus on the self and one’s own interests and enjoyment.

Literature in the 1970s was widely varied and constantly evolving.  Self-help and diet books became popular, which can be attributed to the “Me Decade” emphasis on self-improvement.  A great deal of non-fiction was written about Nixon and the Watergate scandal.  Criminal non-fiction, or true crime, also became a popular subject matter.  Helter Skelter, about the Manson murders, was published in 1974. A few years later, in 1979, Norman Mailer published The Executioner’s Song, for which he won a Pulitzer.  Satire was a commonly used element in the writing of authors like Kurt Vonnegut (Breakfast of Champions, Slapstick), Richard Adams (Watership Down), and Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull). 

The 1970s also saw a so-called “black women’s literary renaissance.” Authors like Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon), Alice Walker (The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian), and Maya Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings) published popular, culturally significant works that are still highly regarded and studied today.  Asian-American women found a voice as well in the 1970s.  Maxine Hong Kingston published No Name Woman and The Woman Warrior, starting her on a successful literary path and opening the door for many to follow.

The 1970s saw a rise in the popularity of the paperback novel. Genre fiction was increasing in popularity, and it was sold most often in mass-market paperback format, which was cheaper to produce.  The latter part of the decade saw a huge surge in the publication and readership of horror novels in particular.  Stephen King emerged as a literary force, releasing Carrie in 1974 and following it up with several more books that decade, including The Shining, Night Shift, and The StandThe Exorcist and The Amityville Horror were both published in the 1970s as well, each resulting in successful movies and many lost nights of sleep.

Finally, a new category of literature began to emerge in the late 1960s and grew into its own in the 1970s.  The publication of The Outsiders in 1967 gave readers what would become known as young adult literature.  Geared toward teenagers who wanted characters with whom they could identify and stories with some grit and realism, the genre has become popular with adult readers as well.  In the 1970s, The Chocolate War; That Was Then, This is Now; and Run Softly, Go Fast fulfilled the need for books for young adult readers.

Some of the above titles can be found on the shelf at Peoria Public Library locations.  See a staff member if you need help in placing a hold to get these works from other libraries.

Check back in December, when we’ll take a look at best sellers from the 1980s!