Peoria Public Library - Peoria, Illinois

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107 NE Monroe
Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070
1-309-497-2000

the book

the author

young readers

special events

Peoria Reads!

goals

community involvement

community partners

Peoria Reads! is modeled after 'one city, one book' projects first launched by the Library of Congress Center for the Book in 1998. In cities around the nation, a coalition of organizations promote the reading of the same, significant book at the same time by their residents of high school age through senior citizens. Readers then participate in events such as book discussion groups, appearances by the author and other special events. For a glimpse at other cities' reading projects and books chosen, visit the Library of Congress web site at http://www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/one-book.html.

Common Place and the Peoria Public Library are the lead partners in Peoria Reads! with dynamic involvement from many other Community Partners. Books are chosen and events are planned each year by members of the coalition which meets throughout the year at Common Place. Common Place serves as the fiscal agent for Peoria Reads!

Past Peoria Reads! selections:
  • 2008     Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • 2009     The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  • 2010     The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • 2011     The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

the book

Don’t Shoot is a rather academic work, but the program it outlines has reduced violence across the country and is being tried in many communities. It tells the story of Kennedy’s beginnings as a self-taught criminologist, who engineered a program during Boston’s crack epidemic that cut youth homicide by two-thirds, to the development of his successful program. While riding with beat cops, sitting with grandmothers on stoops and hanging with gang members, David Kennedy realized that all parties misunderstood each other. Everyone was caught in a spiral of racialized anger and distrust. His approach was to get everyone from gang members to cops to community groups to join together in one giant intervention and it worked.

In the Don’t Shoot program, offenders are told that the violence must stop, that even the cops want them alive and out of prison and that their families support swift law enforcement if the violence continues. In over 70 cities the result of the program has been the same. Violence plummets, drug markets dry up and the relationship between the police and the community is reset.

What did David Kennedy see that set him on this path? He knew crime was down, but he saw that between 2000 and 2007, the gun homicide rate for black men aged fourteen to seventeen went up 40 percent, eighteen to twenty-four up 18 percent and twenty-five and over, up almost 27 percent. The rate is so high that it is just about the death toll for the World Trade Center attacks every single year.

The award-winning author, now the Director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control and a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says in his book that we do not need to continue the cycle of young black men believing they will be dead by 25 and whole communities of them going to prison yearly. “We once locked crazy people in stone buildings and chained them to walls; we look back at that now and say, ‘What were they thinking? They did that? We can get there. We can make our way to a place where we look back at 2.2 million Americans in prison and say, ‘What were they thinking? They did that?’ ”

the author

David M. Kennedy has spent much of the last 25 years on the ground in the country's most dangerous neighborhoods, working with communities to find solutions to crime. The director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control and a professor of criminal justice at John Jay College, Kennedy has received two Webber Seavey awards from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, two Innovations in American Government awards from the Kennedy School of Government, and a Herman Goldstein Problem-Oriented Policing Award. His work has been used as a model or source for safety and drug intervention initiatives by the Clinton and Bush administrations, and by the Bureau of Justice. He also tours regularly to speak to groups that have included U.S. Congress, Scotland Yard, the National District Attorneys' Association, and the National Conference of Mayors. Kennedy lives in Brooklyn, New York.

young readers

A limited number of copies of the following companion books are available to the public by special arrangement with the Peoria Mayor's Office.  Please contact Common Place at 674-3315 or Peoria Public Library at 497-2143 for more information.

Fist Stick Knife Gun by Geoffrey Canada

Long before the avalanche of praise for his work—from Oprah Winfrey, from President Bill Clinton, from President Barack Obama—long before he became known for his talk show appearances, Members Project spots, and documentaries like Waiting for Superman, Geoffrey Canada was a small boy growing up scared on the mean streets of the South Bronx. His childhood world was one where "sidewalk boys" learned the codes of the block and were ranked through the rituals of fist, stick, and knife. Then the streets changed, and the stakes got even higher. In his candid and riveting memoir, Canada relives a childhood in which violence stalked every street corner.

If I Grow Up by Todd Strasser

"WHEN YOU GREW UP IN THE PROJECTS, THERE WERE NO CHOICES. NO GOOD ONES, AT LEAST."

In the Frederick Douglass Project where DeShawn lives, daily life is ruled by drugs and gang violence. Many teenagers drop out of school and join gangs, and every kid knows someone who died. Gunshots ring out on a regular basis.

DeShawn is smart enough to know he should stay in school and keep away from the gangs. But while his friends have drug money to buy fancy sneakers and big-screen TVs, DeShawn's family can barely afford food for the month. How can he stick to his principles when his family is hungry?

In this gritty novel about growing up in the inner city, award-winning author Todd Strasser opens a window into the life of a teenager struggling with right and wrong under the ever-present shadow of gangs.

For more information on If I Grow Up and author Todd Strasser, please visit http://www.toddstrasser.com/html/ifigrowup.htm

Scorpions by Walter Dean Myers
Bad Trouble

Lately everybody's messing with Jamal. His teachers, the kids at school, even his dad. And now that Jamal's brother Randy's in the slam, Crazy Mack has a crazy idea. He wants Jamal to take control of the Scorpions and run crack.

All the gang jive--Jamal has no use for it. Unless, like some say, it's the only way to cop the bread for Randy's appeal...

For more information about author Walter Dean Myers, please visit http://www.walterdeanmyers.net/bio.html

special events

  • To find more events please visit dontshootpeoria.com
  • The Central Illinois Chapter of the Interfaith Alliance will hold its 2012 annual Fall event titled STOP the HATE – VIGIL AGAINST VIOLENCE on September 20th at St. Paul’s Cathedral, 3601 N. North; Peoria, IL. The event will feature the local leaders of OPERATION DON’T SHOOT PEORIA, who will explain this initiative and highlight how the local faith community can become a vital part of the effort to reduce gun violence in our area. The program will begin at 7:00 pm and will be followed by a reception with light refreshments. For additional information, contact Dave Weiman, President of the Chapter, at  (309)264-3561 or daveweiman@comcast.net. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

Peoria Reads!

Read the book and get involved! This phrase has been the slogan of the Peoria Reads! “One City, One Book” program since its beginning but during this special project  it has never been a stronger call to action.

Be a part of Peoria Reads! Here’s how:

Does your group have an idea for a tie-in event? If your group or business wants to participate by putting together an event, please let us know! We can help you publicize it by adding it to our print and online calendars of events. For more information, please call Roberta Koscielski at Peoria Public Library at 497-2186 or email her at RobertaKoscielski@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us.
Do you value reading and want to help? Please call Roberta Koscielski at Peoria Public Library at 497-2186 or email her at RobertaKoscielski@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us, OR call Connie Voss at Common Place at 674-3315 or email her at cvoss04@sbcglobal.net. They can tell you about serving on a committee or making a donation to help more people enjoy reading and talking about books!

goals

  • Bring our diverse community together in ways to promote better understanding.
  • Broaden and deepen readers' appreciation for books dealing with significant issues.
  • Bring more people into libraries, bookstores, and literacy institutions
  • Increase opportunities for discussion between youth and adults
  • Achieve a better understanding of ourselves and of our own humanity

community involvement

"Don’t Shoot” is an aggressive multi-strategy anti-gang and gun violence program designed to save lives and reduce the number of people impacted by gun crimes. It is modeled after a concept found in the book, “Don’t Shoot. One Man, A Street Fellowship, and The End of Violence in Inner-City America,” by David M. Kennedy.

Led by Mayor Jim Ardis, the initiative creates partnerships among federal, state and local prosecutors; law enforcement; outreach specialists; community leaders; and media. Never before has Peoria seen such comprehensive collaboration from key stakeholders in implementing a zero-tolerance message towards gun violence.

community partners

Lead Partners:
  • Common Place
  • Peoria Public Library