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A NOTE FROM THE CITY OF PEORIA: Please consider taking a 15 minute survey regarding crime and policing in Peoria. The survey will be used to improve policing and develop strategies to reduce violent crime in Peoria. Please click here to participate.
Volume 26, No. 10
Peoria Public Library has been selected by the American Library Association (ALA) and WETA Washington, DC, to receive a programming kit for “The Vietnam War,” a 10-part documentary film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that began airing on PBS stations on September 17.
In “The Vietnam War,” filmmakers Burns and Novick tell the epic story of the conflict as it has never before been told on film. The film features testimony from nearly 80 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.
While the library will not show the documentary, it is presenting several programs to expand understanding of the war. On Thursday, October 26 at 6:00 p.m. at North Branch in the McKenzie Room, Dr. Sharon MacDonald will present “The Vietnam War: The Big Picture.” This program will give an overview of why and how we fought the Vietnam War, and why we lost, to help viewers gain a broader understanding as they watch individual episodes on PBS or on DVD. Dr. MacDonald is retired from the Department of History, Illinois State University and received her PhD from the University of Minnesota.
Watch for more programs on this topic and visit the 22VA Art Show during November and December in the Main Library Gallery. This show exhibits the work of veterans, many of the Vietnam era.
Peoria Public Library was one of 50 U.S. public libraries selected to receive the kit through a peer-reviewed competitive application process. More than 350 libraries applied, according to ALA. The Peoria Public Library has received a copy of the 18-hour documentary series on DVD, with public performance rights; the companion book, “The Vietnam War: An Intimate History” by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns (Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House, 2017); a programming guide, promotional resources, partnership opportunities and more. The kit is designed to help libraries participate in a national conversation about one of the most consequential, divisive and controversial events in American history. Peoria Public Library has purchased additional copies of the DVD and book, available for checkout.
The project is offered by the ALA Public Programs Office in partnership with WETA Washington, DC.
The Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees will name this year’s Lincoln Branch Hall of Fame Honoree on Tuesday, October 17 during a reception at 4:00 p.m. at Peoria Public Library Lincoln Branch. An individual, family, corporation, foundation or organization may be nominated in recognition of outstanding contributions to the establishment and support of the Peoria Public Library Lincoln Branch over the years, which resulted in its improvement, national recognition as an important historical structure and ability to continue providing library services to the people of Peoria.
The public is invited to attend the reception and meet the honoree.
Are you a local author interested in joining the Local Author Fair on Saturday, November 4? Please contact ProgrammingDept@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us
Long-time Peoria Public Library employee Joyce Johnson passed away on February 18, 2017. She left a generous bequest to the library which will be ear-marked for the preservation of historic materials. A lover of historical research, she would be delighted with the idea of making Peoria history more accessible. Joyce began her 34-year career at Peoria Public Library in 1967 as a Reference Assistant in the Reference Department. She left in 1969 for library school and returned upon completion of her degree in 1971 as Librarian in the Business, Science and Technology Department. Joyce later became Reference Librarian in the Reference Department and eventually Head of the Reference Department. Prior to retiring in 2003, Joyce was the Conservation/Preservation Librarian. Many long-time patrons will remember Joyce and her enthusiasm for historical research. Peoria Public Library is most grateful for this gift.
by Amber Lowery
If you are involved in genealogy in the Peoria area at all, you may have heard about some records that were recently rediscovered by the County Clerk’s office. These records, known at the Undertakers’ Records, were found after spending years, probably decades, in storage. They have not aged well and their information was in danger of being lost forever. But through the persistence of one man, Bob Hoffer, and the dedication of a group of volunteers from the Peoria County Genealogical Society, these records were photographed in high resolution and carefully transcribed for posterity. They are now being made available to the public.
So what exactly are these records and what can they do for your genealogy? The Undertakers’ Records contain a significant amount of information. Not only names and dates of death, but burial locations, addresses at the time of death, ages, birth places, undertaker, doctor, and cause of death! These records start in 1872 and continue through 1915. The first volume, covering 1872-1881, arrived a couple of weeks ago and is now available at the Main Library in the Local History and Genealogy collection. Just ask the staff member on duty to see it. While it is certainly not complete, it offers approximately eight more years of information into early Peoria burials.
Are you stuck on a brick wall of where a long deceased ancestor is buried? Have you wondered if they were buried in a long forgotten cemetery that was later removed? Perhaps it is time to take a trip to Peoria Public Library Local History and Genealogy collection and look into the Undertakers’ Records. We know you are “dying” to see them.
by Robin Helenthal
The holiday books are starting to come out and one of the first is Debbie Macomber’s Merry and Bright. Merry Knight is a busy person getting ready for the holidays. She has cookies to bake, decorating to do and is trying to stay out of the way of her stressed out boss at the consulting firm where she works as a temp. A social life is not something she is concerned about, but her mom and brother have other ideas. They fill out an on-line dating profile for her without her photo and the matches start coming in. Merry halfheartedly decides to give it a chance. She soon finds herself chatting online with a man who has similar interests but when they meet face-to-face, he is not what she expects or wishes for. This is a story of first impressions and second chances and what our hearts can see that our eyes cannot.
Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand is the story of the Quinn family of the Winter Street Inn. The family is all going to be home for the holidays for the first time in years. Bart is back from Afghanistan. Kevin and Isabelle are doing well in their married life. After paying his debt to society, Patrick is starting to get back on his feet. Ava may have found her true love and Kelly is happy to have all the family together. But the Quinn’s family gatherings never go smoothly and this one is no exception. This is a story to celebrate families and of things that we are willing to tolerate during the holiday reunions.
Seven Days of Us: A Novel by Francesca Hornak is about what happens when a family is required to spend a week in quarantine together over the holidays. This is the first Christmas that the Birch family will all be together under one roof. Olivia the oldest daughter in the family is a doctor who is just coming home after treating an epidemic abroad and she has been told she must stay in quarantine for a week and so should her family. So for seven days the family is forced to reconnect with each other. Younger sister Phoebe is obsessed with her upcoming wedding, Olivia is dealing with the culture shock of what she dealt with out of the country and Emma and Andrew the parents are dealing with secrets and problems of their own. When an unexpected guest arrives, the whole family gets a surprise.
The Biography and Non-Fiction Book Club will meet on Sunday, November 12 at 3:00 p.m. at North Branch to discuss Ten Restaurants That Changed America by Paul Freedman. Combining a historian’s rigor with a foodie’s palate, Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself. Whether charting the rise of our love affair with Chinese food through San Francisco’s fabled The Mandarin, evoking the richness of Italian food through Mamma Leone’s, or chronicling the rise and fall of French haute cuisine through Henri Soulé’s Le Pavillon, food historian Paul Freedman uses each restaurant to tell a wider story of race and class, immigration and assimilation. Freedman also treats us to a scintillating history of the then-revolutionary Schrafft’s, a chain of convivial lunch spots that catered to women, and that bygone favorite, Howard Johnson’s, which pioneered midcentury, on-the-road dining, only to be swept aside by McDonald's. Lavishly designed with more than 100 photographs and images, including original menus, Ten Restaurants That Changed America is a significant and highly entertaining social history.
The Bibliophiles Book Club will meet on Tuesday, November 7 at 1:30 p.m. at Lakeview Branch to discuss Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance. Hillbilly Elegy is a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town in which white working class families struggle to survive. Hillbilly Elegy is a personal analysis of a subculture in crisis. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside.
The Book ‘Em Mystery Book Club will meet on Sunday, November 19 at 2:00 p.m. at Lakeview Branch to discuss The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd. FBI deputy assistant director Kate Bannon tracks down Steve Vail, a maverick FBI agent who left the bureau for life as a Chicago bricklayer. A criminal gang, with a grudge against the FBI, murders an L.A. reporter and demands money to forestall future killings. An FBI agent disappears while making a payoff, and becomes the prime suspect. Vail must find him before the gang kills again. A fast paced action thriller with a character who is allowed to operate outside the rules - fun, exciting, non-stop action.
The Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Club will meet on Monday, November 13 at Lakeview Branch at 6:30 p.m. to discuss Crosstalk by Connie Willis. SFWA Grand Master Willis returns to farcical romantic comedy (and timely social satire) in this near-future novel. Briddy Flannigan, an executive at Apple rival Commspan, knows that keeping secrets is futile when social connectivity is a global obsession. Hours after boyfriend and coworker Trent Worth proposes, they undergo the hip new “minor enhancement procedure,” called an EED, that links lovers emotionally, and Briddy is bombarded with digital congratulations. Only her meddlesome Irish American family and C. B. Schwartz, Commspan’s eccentric, basement-dwelling genius, object. Naturally, the EED misfires: instead of Trent, Briddy gets connected to C. B., and instead of emotions, she gets telepathy. With C. B. in her head, Briddy has more secrets than ever. Briddy’s persistent internal monologue is funny, vulnerable, and skeptical, but as she tosses off lie after lie, she reveals the gulf between surface connections and true intimacy we all struggle to fill. C. B. is a gleefully manic presence, given to passionate tirades on everything from Hedy Lamarr to Lucky Charms. Alongside the central romance, Willis lampoons such diverse elements as helicopter parenting, corporate espionage, and Internet dating. This novel is full of Willis’ trademarks—thematically rich storytelling, fascinating historical trivia, quick-witted repartee, and plausible speculative technology—and has fun with them, too.
The YA Book Club for Adults will meet on Tuesday, November 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Lakeview Branch to discuss American Street by Ibi Zoboi. On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?
The Read on Book Club will meet on Tuesday, November 28 at 5:30 p.m. at Lincoln Branch to for a holiday dinner and Christmas tree ornament exchange. For more information please call (309) 497-2601.
The Genre Evolution Book Club will meet on Wednesday, November 15th at 6:30 p.m. at the North Branch to discuss the evolution of the genre that was voted on last month. Please check the library calendar at www.peoriapubliclibrary.org for a list of this month’s selections!
Sherlock Holmes Story Society will meet at North Branch at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 16 (please note change of date) at North Branch to discuss “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet.” A banker, Mr. Alexander Holder of Streatham, makes a loan of £50,000 to a socially prominent client, who leaves a beryl coronet — one of the most valuable public possessions in existence — as collateral. Holder feels that he must not leave this rare and precious piece of jewelry in his personal safe at the bank, and so he takes it home with him to lock it up there. He is awakened in the night by a noise, enters his dressing room, and is horrified to see his son Arthur with the coronet in his hands, apparently trying to bend it. Holder's niece Mary comes at the sound of all the shouting and, seeing the damaged coronet, faints dead away. Three beryls are missing from it. In a panic, Mr. Holder travels to see Holmes, who agrees to take the case.
Friends of Clonmel Intercontinental Readers will meet Tuesday, November 14 at 1:00 p.m. at Main Library on LL1 to hold a Skype discussion with the group in Clonmel, Ireland about The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan. In the aftermath of Ireland's financial collapse, dangerous tensions surface in an Irish town. As violence flares, the characters face a battle between public persona and inner desires. Through a chorus of unique voices, each struggling to tell their own kind of truth, a single authentic tale unfolds. The Spinning Heart speaks for contemporary Ireland like no other novel. Wry, vulnerable, all-too human, it captures the language and spirit of rural Ireland and with uncanny perception articulates the words and thoughts of a generation. Technically daring and evocative of Patrick McCabe and J.M. Synge, this novel of small-town life is witty, dark and sweetly poignant.
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