Meet the man whose job is sharing local history with the public. Chris Farris is a reference assistant at the Peoria Public Library’s Local History and Genealogy Room. He runs a popular page on social media – and posts with purpose.

“I’m looking for breaking news items, especially as they’re related to Peoria’s past. So then I can intertwine the past with the present, and maybe the future,” he said.

The history room maintains thousands of historic books, photos, and microfilm newspaper records.

They’re not only utilized by local history buffs, but also genealogists tracing their family histories and business developers applying for historic tax credits. For instance, the library was involved in OSF HealthCare’s efforts to obtain credits to restore the former Block & Kuhl building it plans to use for its new headquarters.