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Volume 28, No. 8
There’s power in partnerships. This summer, Peoria Public Library joined with nearly 30 other local organizations to host a special Slide into Summer Reading party at Owens Recreation Center. The kick-off party, coordinated by Align Peoria, featured games, goodie bags, free books and food, a visit from PBS’ Daniel Tiger and, of course, the opportunity to sign up for our Summer Reading program.
Nearly 350 people signed up for Summer Reading during that two-hour party.
“This was such a great way to get kids excited about Summer Reading,” said Alyce Jackson, Manager of Programming for Peoria Public Library. “The buzz and exposure to partners like Peoria Public Schools, Common Place, Early Head Start and Tri-County Urban League, just to name a few, is no doubt part of why our participation is up double digits this year. We’ve already been talking about when, not if, we do this again.”
Overall, Summer Reading participation is up 20 percent in 2019 compared to 2018, with more than 3,900 people of all ages agreeing to read at least 20 minutes a day from June 2 through July 20.
“During the school year, students often don’t have a choice about what they read. In the summer, we want them to reawaken their imagination by reading what they like,” said Peoria Public Library Executive Director Randall Yelverton. “But there’s also a practical reason to sign up for Summer Reading. Reading over the summer prevents the ‘summer slide’ or loss of reading skills.”
Researchers also believe the summer slide is cumulative, with struggling readers two years behind peers by the time they reach middle school, according to studies noted in the latest Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report. Awareness of the summer slide continues to increase, according to the report, from 48 percent of parents aware to 53 percent, but that hasn’t necessarily translated into more readers.
“Thirty-two percent of kids ages 15-17 said the number of books they read over the summer was zero, up sharply since 2016 (22%),” the report states. And it was double for kids ages 9-11. In 2016, 7 percent of them said they didn’t read any books over the summer. In 2018, it was 14 percent.
“The children in our Summer Reading program enjoy it so much. You can tell it’s not something they see as a chore,” Yelverton said. “We just have to keep working to get the word out and, of course, remind parents that they can do Summer Reading too. Children are great mimickers.”
In addition to a new kick-off party, Peoria Public Library also hosted a Summer Reading party just for adults this year. The party featured live music, food trucks, indoor and outdoor games, a henna artist and prizes, including two free tickets to see Hamilton: The Exhibition in Chicago.
This was in addition to the continuing tradition of the children’s party at Peoria Riverfront Museum and the Summer Reading bike giveaway at Lincoln Branch.
“We have wonderful sponsors who help us collect small weekly prizes for the kids and help us put on a spectacular end-of-summer party,” said Jackson, “But we’re always looking for ways to be more connected to the community too. I think we’ve found a great partnership with Align Peoria and Peoria Public Schools. We’re excited to grow Summer Reading even more next year.”
Thank you to our Sponsors!
Friends of Peoria Public Library
Chili’s Grill & Bar
Elevate Trampoline Park
Little Raven Eatery
Peoria Riverfront Market
Peoria Symphony Orchestra
Sewing Center II
Thirty-thirty Coffee Co.
Wheels O’ Time Museum
Wildlife Prairie Park
Zen Nail Lounge
Rewind 20 years ago when Cynthia Smith was a new children’s librarian at Lincoln Branch Library.
“It was so quiet. You could count on one hand how many kids came in the building (for Summer Reading.)” Smith said.
If the kids wouldn’t come to her, Smith was determined to go to them.
“I decided I was going to go to the schools, and I was going to take a bike,” for them to win. She bought the first bike. She recalls it was a shiny red boy’s bike.
“I went classroom to classroom, and they were so excited. It just snowballed from there.”
Today, 20 years later, Smith oversees the entire Lincoln Branch. Her Summer Reading program has blossomed into nearly 500 children (0-18) taking part this summer, and nearly 650 if you add in the adults. And bikes are still a big part of the draw.
The Lincoln Branch, which opened in 1911 thanks to a $20,000 gift from Andrew Carnegie, mainly serves the South Side of Peoria, which has higher rates of poverty and crime than some parts of Peoria. Transportation to the annual, all-ages Summer Reading party at the Peoria Riverfront Museum is a problem for many of the children who participate in Summer Reading at Lincoln Branch. So, Smith’s bike giveaway is their main celebration.
“In a way, it is, because of the transportation issue, but I always encourage them to go to the museum party.”
Not every child will get a bike, but Smith does her best to secure as many as she can through other non-profits, businesses and individuals. Last year, 77 brand-new, gleaming bikes were given away to Summer Readers through random drawings.
“I always invite (the donors) to come and pull names,” Smith said. “When they see how many kids are here and how excited they are, they usually say, ‘We need to give more.’”
When bike giveaway day comes, every inch of the library is taken up with children and bicycles. There is not a bit of peace and quiet. Smith’s days as a lonely children’s librarian are, happily, long gone.
“It gets crazy. It’s going to be loud. And that’s how we like it.”
Nikki and Jonathon Romain are on a quest to inspire and empower the community through the arts, and they’re eager to talk about it at our next installment of Peoria Speaks from 6-7:30 p.m., Aug. 27 at Lakeview Branch, 1137 W. Lake Ave. Free and open to the public. No registration required.
The founders of ART, Inc. (Artists ReEnvisioning Tomorrow) have turned a shuttered school into a community arts center. Both accomplished artists who have performed and had their work exhibited across the U.S., the Romains are now focused on investing in local youth.
Peoria Speaks is a monthly community discussion program focused on topics of interest to Peorians. Funding is provided by Illinois Humanities through the Illinois Speaks program, which is aimed at strengthening the democratic process through community dialogues across the state of Illinois.
August means back to school. So, whether you need a practice test for the SAT or a place to study for it, a free museum pass or a movie, help tracing your family tree or free wifi and a computer so you can do it yourself, the Peoria Public Library has the resources and, more importantly, the trained staff to help you.
As the popular novelist Neil Gaiman likes to say, “Google can bring you 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”Peoria Public Library offers peer-reviewed databases, free wifi, public computers, meeting spaces, special programs and, of course, the ability to borrow nearly 950,000 items. With a main library, four branch libraries and a Bookmobile, the Peoria Public Library is one of the largest library systems in Illinois. And at least three branches are open every day of the week.
Below are a few of the lesser known resources available with your Peoria Public Library card. Many can even be accessed from home.
Brainfuse HelpNow – Live tutoring assistance, study guides and practice tests for standardized tests (SAT, ACT, GED and more), a foreign language lab and a writing lab which offers thorough analysis for writing style and organization.
Testing and Education Reference Center -- online tool for standardized test preparation, researching undergraduate and graduate programs, finding tuition assistance and career advice.
ABC-CLIO – a multidisciplinary reference resource with more than 140,000 primary and secondary source materials across numerous subject areas – world history to geography to pop culture.
Kanopy – a free streaming service of more than 30,000 films, everything from documentaries and instructional lessons to classics and comedies.
News -- With three databases, you can browse today’s local news or access more than 300 major U.S. and international news sources, including the Chicago Tribune, New York Times and Times of London.
Genealogy and Local History – multitude of local history articles and artifacts supplemented by online genealogical research databases with more than 4.4 billion records from the U.S., United Kingdom and other countries.
By Amber Lowery
Recently, I stopped off at a local big box store to check on the price of something and discovered to my delight that school supplies are starting to appear on shelves. Now, while this may sound a little unusual for a grown woman to get this excited about pencils, notebooks and folders, I promise you, I’m not the only genealogist making a wish list like it is Christmas.
Truly, back to school is the best time to stock up on supplies for genealogy. Notebooks for keeping track of information you find, day planners to schedule your genealogy time, pencils, erasers, jump drives, binders, page protectors, printer ink… Oh, dear, my wallet has run for cover.
However, there is one thing every good genealogist should make sure they have on their supply list: a library card. If you live in the city of Peoria, have photo ID and proof of address, you can get your Peoria Public Library card for free. If you live outside of the city, but in another area library district, you can use that library card at just about any library in the area, including Peoria. Just imagine what reference materials and digital sources you can find when using that magic card. A Peoria Public Library card gives you access not only to our online catalog and digital materials, but also some fantastic databases that may hold the clue to your next brick wall in your genealogy research.
Clear some time on your new day planner, bring your freshly sharpened pencils with those new notebooks, and come spend some time at the Peoria Public Library. Who knows what you will discover next when you turn the page.
By Robin Helenthal
In The Birthday Girl by Melissa De La Cruz. Ellie de Florent-Stinson decides to throw herself a grand party for her 40th birthday, but neither she nor her guests seem to be looking forward to it. Ellie grew up as a trailer park kid in Oregon. Today, she’s a famous fashion designer with three homes, a handsome husband and four children. But her life is not as perfect as it seems; Ellie has a lot of secrets that come to a head at her birthday party. Everyone who has mattered in her life is there and soon it’s a night of twists and surprises.
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center. Cassie Hanwell, a female firefighter in a Texas firehouse, loves her job. On her 16th birthday, a decade ago, her mother deserted the family and Cassie’s high school crush broke her heart. Love is for the weak, Cassie decided. She’s worked and trained hard to be a firefighter accepted as one of the boys. When her old flame and mother both reappear, love, forgiveness, courage and vulnerability give Cassie the fight of her life.
By Teri Miller
Large print books are for anyone who enjoys the ease and convenience of reading larger type. Enjoy these Mystery titles appearing soon on a Large Print Shelf at your favorite branch!
Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna by Mario Giordano: Prosecco-loving Auntie Poldi is ready for some peace and quiet, interrupted by romantic encounters with handsome Chief Inspector Montana. Then she finds a body in a vineyard, tangles with the Mafia, and yet again makes herself unpopular in the pursuit of justice. But once wine and murder mix, how could she possibly stay away? (Lakeview, Lincoln, Main and North)
Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien: A Noodle Shop Mystery. After a brutal break-up and a workplace walk-out, Lana Lee is waiting tables at her family’s Ho-Lee Noodle House. But she becomes yesterday’s news when the property manager turns up dead after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee (Lakeview, Main, McClure and North)
Aunt Dimity and the Heart of Gold by Nancy Atherton: When the winter weather takes a turn for the worse in Lori Shepherd’s village of Finch, Emma Harris’s annual Christmas bash becomes a pajama party. And after an unexpected arrival, an impromptu tour of the manor turns up a puzzling room, a hidden compartment and glittering treasure. (Lakeview, Main, McClure and North)
Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan: Hamish DeLuca and Reggie Van Buren have a new case – which could demand a price they’re not will to pay. Errol Parker, leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, wants them to investigate what the Boston police dismiss as harmless pranks. Errol believes they’re linked to the outbreak of war in Europe and is afraid for his life. (Main and North)
Home Sweet Homicide by Craig Rice: Unoccupied and unsupervised while mother is working, the children of widowed crime writer Marion Carstairs find diversion playing amateur sleuths and matchmakers. Poking fun at the conventions of the genre, this comedic crème story finds “the Dorothy Parker of detective fiction” at her most entertaining. The basis for the 1946 film of the same name, Home Sweet Homicide launched Craig Rice to literary fame. (Lakeview and North)
Foul Play on Words by Becky Clark: When mystery author Charlee Russo arrives to speak at a Portland writers’ conference organized by her friend Viv Lundquist, Viv picks her up at the airport frantic that her daughter has been kidnapped. Charlee takes over the conference, but between the kidnapping, a double booking, and hapless volunteers, she worries that it will go to the dogs. (Lakeview and North)
Alpha Alpine by Mary Daheim: For a small town in the Cascade Mountain foothills, Alpine provides plenty of headlines to fill editor and publisher Emma Lord’s Alpine Advocate. The Labor Day edition features controversial timber baron Jack Blackwell’s run for county manager. But the strangling deaths of two young women are all anyone can talk about. Then a third body is found. (Main, Lakeview, McClure and North)
Lights! Camera! Puzzles! By Parnell Hall: The latest in this ever-popular mystery series finds the Puzzle Lady on the set of a movie about her own life – based on her ex-husband’s tell-all memoir Confessions of a Trophy Husband: My Life with the Puzzle Lady. And when the first dead body shows up on set, it comes with a crossword puzzle. (Lakeview and North)
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