107 NE Monroe Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070

Author of Deep Denial, David Billings, to Speak

In co-operation with Bradley University, the author of Deep Denial, David Billings, will speak at North Branch on Monday, January 22 at 11:00 a.m.

Mississippi native David Billings’ recent book, Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in United States History and Life, has won the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award in the Current Events/Social Change category. Billings, an historian and organizer with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, has worked for half a century in the struggle for racial justice. Deep Denial — part popular history, part personal memoir — documents the 400-year racialization of the U.S. and explains why “we remain a nation hard-wired by race.”

In a PBS Newshour interview in 2016, Billings said, ““In this country people can just define racism anyway they want,” he says. “We say ‘no.’ You got to have a definition where it impacts where your organization is going. It has to include your race’s relationship to power in this country.”

Billings acknowledges that his own power stems from being a white man in a nation that he says was designed to benefit him above others. But as America becomes more diverse and the demand for equal opportunity grows, “some white people are feeling that we are not benefiting as much as we should,” he said. It’s a psychological dynamic he describes in his upcoming book, Deep Denial.

“Down deep in us, even for those of us who voted for President Obama or have colleagues that are part of our organization, there’s a degree to which we feel whites should be running things,” he says. “And when there isn’t, we get upset about it.”

Rev. Billings is an ordained United Methodist minister. He also is an historian with a special interest in the history of race and racism. Billings’ organizing work has been cited for many awards including the Westchester County chapter of the National Association of Social Workers “Public Citizen of the Year,” the New Orleans Pax Christi “Bread and Roses” award; the Loyola University of New Orleans “Homeless and Hunger Award”; the 2010 Martin Luther King Social Justice Award from the New Orleans Jazz Foundation; and the National Alliance against Racist Oppression’s Angela Davis Award for community service. He was the Whitney Young 2006 lecturer at the Westchester County NASW symposium.

Peoria Public Library Celebrates Illinois History Every Day

This year the state of Illinois celebrates 200 years of statehood, culminating in the actual anniversary of statehood on December 3.  For 138 of those 200 years, Peoria Public Library has existed as a tax-supported city library, although subscription libraries began here thirty years before that.

Because of that long existence in the city, Peoria Public Library is a treasure trove of Illinois history with documents, images, newspapers, almanacs, city directories, maps and so much more going back to the beginnings of statehood and before. Everyone from family genealogists to documentary makers to news crews to museums from around the world contact Peoria Public Library to find the unique gems of history filed away in our Local History and Genealogy Department. Explore the history of Illinois at Peoria Public Library.

Bad Weather? Is the Library Open?

Winter can bring severe weather that can close schools and make travel hazardous. Before you venture out in the storm to visit the library, check to make sure we are open! Call (309) 497-2000 or check the website at www.peoriapubliclibrary.org.  Emergency messages are posted near the top of the home page. You can also check the closings listed on local media and our social media.

Even when Peoria Public Library is open during bad weather, you may want to save yourself the trip and use online services.  You can renew and reserve books online using the My Account button on the website. If for some reason you are unable to renew online, just call and get help over the phone from one of our staff.

Desperate for something new to read? You can download an e-book or audiobook from several different sources on our website with your library card and PIN.  You can also stream music from Freegal or find books for bored kids with or without sound and some even have games! Put your time indoors to good use and do some genealogy research with Heritage Quest or start learning a new language with Mango.

While Peoria Public Library rarely closes, it is important to remember that books can be renewed and returned when the blizzard is over and there are plenty of library resources available to you on your computer or mobile device. Keep the number handy – (309) 497-2000 and bookmark the website www.peoriapubliclibrary.org.

Family Activity Nights Scheduled for 2018

Peoria Public Library North Branch will host a Family Activity Night once a month on the third Wednesday of each month beginning January 17. The programs begin at 6:30 p.m. and offer a wide variety of activities the entire family can enjoy together. Mark your calendar and bring your family and friends for these fun activities.

January – Learn Morse Code and send secret messages

February – Come play chess or checkers

March – Build your own board game

April – Play one of our card games, or make up a  new one

May – Learn a few yo-yo tricks

June – Build and decorate a bird feeder

July – Build the perfect paper airplane

August – Play a giant game of Word Winder

September – Decorate a box to turn into a family “time capsule”

October – Carve a Jack O’ Lantern 

November – Write and illustrate a story together

December – Decorate cookies

Can't Find the Book You Want? Request It!

Did you know that Peoria Public Library will purchase the book you are looking for if we can’t find it in our collection or borrow it from somewhere else for you? Just speak to a staff member at any Information Desk. Recently some of our patrons have requested the following titles and they have been added to the Peoria Public Library collection.

13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do: Raising Self-Assured Children and Training Their Brains for a Lifetime of Happiness, Meaning, and Success by Amy Morin.

Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong by Paul A. Offit

The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans: How to Decode Their Behavior, Develop Unshakable Trust, and Raise a Respectable Adult by Josh Shipp

Keto Comfort Foods: Family Favorite Recipes Made Low-Carb and Healthy by Maria Emmerich

The Last Castle: the Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home by Denise Kiernan

King of Spies: the Dark Reign of America’s Spymaster in Korea by Blaine Harden.

Blessed in the Darkness: How All Things are Working for Your Good by Joel Osteen

Illinois Reads

Each year the state of Illinois runs a statewide project to promote reading for Illinois citizens by selecting six books in each of six different age categories ranging from read-to books for infants to adult readers. A variety of topics and themes are chosen for each age group, with an emphasis on selections written by authors with ties to Illinois. 

In 2017, Peoria Public Library offered readers a chance to win a prize for participating in Illinois Reads and there was a great turnout. Congratulations to our winners from 2017:  Adult: Julie Bowman; Grades 9-12: Allyson Parks; Grades 6-8: Laylah Cameron; Grades 3-5: Augie Crank; Grades K-2: Shamiah McClain; Birth-4yrs: Vince Bauml.

The 2018 contest starts this March and runs through Family Reading Night on November 16.  All that you do is read four of the titles from your age/grade group. 

Pick up a contest book log at any Information Desk this March and keep track of the titles you read. Turn it in by Family Reading Night, November 16, to be entered to our drawing for a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card. Drawing will be held on November 17. One winner per age/grade. If you want to start reading now, the full list of books can be found at http://illinoisreads.org/booksselectedfor2017/2017allbooks.html . Remember, books read over the summer also count for Summer Reading!

Join the Bookin' It Walking Club This Year

Need help starting a consistent fitness routine? Join the new  Bookin’ It Walking Club and get a little support! The club will meet each Tuesday for a 30 minute (or longer if you’re up for it!) walk at Lakeview Branch. Some days speakers will talk about fitness and routines. Walks will be inside on bad weather days and outside when the weather is nice. We will keep track of goals and milestones. Members who complete 24 weeks will be entered into a drawing for a fitness- related prize! Combine your weekly library visit with a fitness walk for an easy way to achieve your goals.

Starting Over With Your Genealogy

By Amber Lowery

Have you ever been ready to just take all of your genealogy research and toss it out? Just stuff it all in the garbage and walk away from it? Wipe your hands clean of the binders, folders, and piles of dusty old books? 

I was in that state last year, until I read a great blog that came out last year called Genealogy Do-Over. The blog, written by the incredible Thomas MacEntee, suggested doing just that. With winter setting in, this is the perfect time to start on this project and plan for a less overwhelming, more organized approach to genealogy research in 2018.

The first thing MacEntee proposed is we take all of our previous research and set it to the side. Then we prepare to research like it is our first time, but keeping the skills and knowledge that we have accumulated over the years. As we get deeper into genealogy, our research methods are honed and sharpened. We learn to look for the details buried in obituaries, family histories, news clippings, and vital records. 

For example, did you know that Peoria had a number of different newspapers, but they did not necessarily report all the same information? Perhaps you have an obituary for Great-Grandfather Edwin from the Peoria Journal, but did you check the Peoria Evening Star to see if perhaps that copy mentioned his mother’s maiden name? No? Well, then, off you go to Peoria Public Library Main Library to look at the microfilm and see if any new information is waiting to be discovered.

Maybe you have a bit of genealogical information on an ancestor in an old photocopy but you cannot remember where you got it from. Bring it with you on one of your planned research days and ask one of the staff in the Local History department if they recognize the source.

Rediscover your passion for the hobby by going back to the beginning with fresh eyes. Perhaps the breadcrumb you seek is already among your research, waiting to be found. If it is not, make a trip to the Peoria Public Library to explore our resources and talk to staff about avenues you may be missing in your research.

Hot New Titles Coming in January 2018

By Robin Helenthal

The Music Shop: A Novel by Rachel Joyce is both a love story and a journey through the power of music. In 1988, llse Brachmann walks into a small music shop at the end of a dead-end street in a run-down neighborhood. The owner of the shop, a man named Frank, has a way of connecting his customers to the right piece of music that they are looking for or need. llse asks Frank to teach her about music. Frank and llse both have emotional baggage that they need to overcome but with the healing power of music and love they just might be able to connect and save each other.

Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell is the story of the first production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as told by Richard Shakespeare, William’s younger brother. The two men have been at odds for years. While Richard has dreams of being an actor in the London playhouses which is a world in which his brother dominates, he is actually a penniless actor that makes ends meet by minor thievery and his silver tongue. As William’s star rises, Richard’s seems to fall. When a priceless script goes missing, Richard is suspected and to clear his name and escape the gallows, he must play the part of a lifetime and call on all the skills he has learned on the stage to save himself. From the glittering stages to the darkest alleys, we get an inside look at what it might have been like in the world of theatre during the time of Shakespeare.

Eternal Life by Dara Horn is the story of a woman with a problem, she can’t die. 2000 years ago, she made a sacred bargain to save the life of her first born son, Jack, in the time of Roman occupied Jerusalem. Although she has tried to free herself from the bargain, there is only one person who understands her and he has been stalking her through the centuries, telling her they belong together. Now her children and grandchildren are obsessed with finding immortality their own way, from digital currency to genetic engineering which would change her fate and theirs. This book celebrates the power of faith, the point of death, reasons for living and the bonds that exist between generations.

Peoria Reads! announces Station Eleven as 2018 Choice

In a world plagued by disasters, Station Eleven, the award-winning book by Emily St. John Mandel, seemed an obvious choice for the 2018 Peoria Reads! One City, One Book read. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel’s fourth novel, won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, was a finalist for the National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award, was an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and was named one of the best books of the year by more than a dozen publications. It’s been translated into 27 languages. “Equal parts page-turner and poem” (Entertainment Weekly), the novel is set 20 years after a devastating flu pandemic destroys civilization as we know it. A woman moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians until they encounter a violent prophet who threatens the tiny band’s existence. “Possibly the most captivating and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic novel you will ever read” (The Independent London). “It’s hard to imagine a novel more perfectly suited, in both form and content, to this literary moment” (The New Yorker). “I kept putting the book down, looking around me, and thinking, ‘Everything is a miracle’” (National Public Radio). The author herself said, “I wanted to write a love letter to the world we find ourselves in.”

Peoria Reads! is entering it’s 16th year of asking Peorians to read and discuss the same great book. Peoria Reads is a joint project of Common Place and Peoria Public Library. A wide variety of book discussions and other activities are being planned to help readers explore and understand the themes found in Station Eleven. While funds are not available this year to provide free copies of the book, many copies may be borrowed from Peoria Public Library as books, e-books and audio books. With more time to relax and read over the winter, read the book now and be ready for the citywide discussion. A copy of Station Eleven makes a wonderful gift for yourself or the readers in your life, as well! Watch for more information at www.peoriareads.org