Peoria Public Library - Peoria, Illinois

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107 NE Monroe
Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070

Reading Room

Silver Sparrow author Tayari Jones here in February

The 2017 book of choice for the NEA Big Read: Peoria Reads! is Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones.  It’s a heartbreaking tale of one man and his two families.  The story takes place in middle-class Atlanta in the 80’s.  One daughter knows about his second family and the story asks what happens when the other daughter finds out.  Through a chance meeting, the two teenage girls become friends and the truth of the situation starts to unravel.   The girls have to find their way through this storm and find that family and friend can bring both joy and pain.  The book lends itself to great discussion questions for book clubs and groups who want to talk about the importance of honesty and the value of relationships.

The author of Silver Sparrow was born and raised in Atlanta, GA and educated Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona state.  Tayari Jones’ stories all take place in the south and are about African-Americans.  Silver Sparrow is her third novel.  The novel was also chosen as a NEA Big Read for this year. 

Here is a great interview with her talking about Silver Sparrow with NPR:

Peoria Reads! is happy to have the author, Tayari Jones, come to two events at the Peoria Public Library.  Thursday, February 23 at 6:00 at the Peoria Public Library- Lincoln Branch, and Saturday, February 25 at 1:00 at Peoria Public Library- North Branch.  Ms. Jones will talk about her book, answer questions, and sign books.  The event is free and open to the public. 

Check back with the Peoria Reads! for further information and details about this year’s Peoria Reads! pick.

The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment of the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.  For more information, please visit





Harry Potter Book Read Night

Whether we first fell into the wizarding world through her written words, or were spellbound by the visuals of those words made into movies; JK Rowling has undeniably brought magic into the world. It’s been 20 years since we were first introduced to the “boy who lived,” and still we commemorate  this epic tale that begins with the line, “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number 4, Privet Drive were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”  Between movies, theme parks, plays, and a spin-off series, Muggles and No-Majs alike are VERY aware of the magic around us.

Working our own magic, on Thursday February 2, our Lakeview Branch will host a Harry Potter Book Read Night, part of an international event,  from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Grab your books and your floo powder, and come celebrate with us. Call to reserve your spot, (309) 497-2143 and practice your swish and flick. Study hard for that History of Magic test and get your selfie with Dobby. We will have discussions, crafts, and more. Don’t miss out on this magical night!  

Tea Time January 12 Explores Tea Facts

     As we are firmly into the winter season and the temperature drops, we often look to ways to warm ourselves.  One of the best and tastiest ways is with a hot cup of tea to wrap our chilled hands around.  There are endless facts and tidbits out there about teas but here are ten fun facts to warm your mind while you enjoy while you sip at your tea. 
1. You need about 2,000 tiny leaves to make one pound of finished tea.  Tea plants grow in        the wild in parts of Asia but they can also be planted and farmed.  The best teas comes          from high elevations and are hand-picked. (1)
2. Tea didn’t reach Europeans until the late 16th century.  People in the Middle East and            Asia have been using ceramic teapots and drinking tea for over 11,000 years. (1)
3. Britain is the 2nd largest drinking nation with Ireland being the largest.  The US drinks         1.42 million pounds of tea every day. (2)
4. Earl Grey tea was named after a 19th century British diplomat to China. (3)
5. Legend tells that tea was discovered in China, in 2737 BCE, by Emperor Shen Nung.  A       few tea leaves had fallen into his boiling pot of water.  The habit of drinking steeped tea       leaves became popular later in the Ming Dynasty (13-68-1644.) (4)
6. Herbal infusions are not considered teas but are actually tisanes. (5)
7. In the US, the Northeast and South have the most tea drinkers. (6)
8. It takes about three years for a new tea plant to be ready to harvest. But it takes between       four and twelve years for it to start producing seeds.  Also, at least fifty inches of rain a       year is needed for plants. (6)
9. Tea is not just for drinking.  It helps to heal shaving cuts, can be used as a marinade for         meat, is a great fertilizer for roses, and is also good for cleaning floors.  (7)
10. In 2014, a tea company in Saudi Arabia set the Guinness World Record for largest tea           bad made.  It weighed in at just over 551 lbs and was 9.8’ wide by 13’ high.  That                  teabag could be used to brew over 100,000 cups of tea.  (8)

If you’d like to know more fun facts about tea or just have a fun afternoon with other tea lovers, join us on Thursday Jan 12th from 3:00-4:00pm at the North Branch for our Cozy Adult Tea Time program.  We’ll talk about different tea rituals and tea etiquette, as well as learn more fun facts about tea. 


E-Read Illinois Adds Browser-Based Reading

On December 5, Baker & Taylor released a browser-based reader for Axis 360 e-books to eRead Illinois libraries that allows users to access e-books from their browser without having to download any additional apps or software. The reader is compatible with Chromebooks through the Chrome browser and with Mac and Windows based computers through Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. eRead Illinois libraries will be among the first in the country to have access to the browser-based reader. This is particularly helpful for schools and others that want to read on a computer, not a device. For help, call (309) 497-2000.

Two named to Lincoln Branch Hall of Fame

Peoria Public Library Lincoln Branch Hall of Fame has its first two inductees and they will be honored by the Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees, staff, family and friends during a ceremony on Tuesday, November 15 at 4:00 p.m. at Lincoln Branch.
Being honored are Henry Pindell Slane and Kathleen Powers Ditewig. Slane, who headed the Peoria Journal Star for more than 30 years, made the largest contribution on record to Peoria Public Library, donating $500,000 to repair Lincoln Branch inside and out in 1993. Ditewig, an ordinary citizen of the Lincoln Branch neighborhood, ran a massive grass roots campaign in 1970 that rallied the masses and convinced the Library Board to keep the branch open after its imminent closure was announced.
In order to honor the extraordinary dedication of the many who stepped up when Lincoln Branch was in need, the Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees established a Hall of Fame in March of 2016. Lincoln Branch, an original Carnegie Library, has survived for over 100 years continuously as a library and has been completely renovated and restored and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The Branch offers a wide variety of programs and materials for all ages and serves as an anchor for the neighborhood. In 2016, almost 100,000 people had visited the branch by the end of October.
The Lincoln Branch Hall of Fame will have plaques on the wall of the Carnegie Room to memorialize the contributions of Hall of Fame inductees. The public is invited to attend the ceremony.

What Do You Think About the Opiate Abuse Epidemic?

Talk with other concerned citizens about Peoria's opiate abuse epidemic at one of four discussions moderated by Mike Kennedy, president and CEO of the Human Service Center.

• Saturday, October 22 from 1:00 to 2:15 p.m. at Peoria Public Library Main Library Auditorium

• Wednesday, November 2 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. at Peoria Public Library Lakeview Branch Lakeview Room

• Monday, November 7 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. at Peoria Public Library North Branch McKenzie Room

• Thursday, November 17 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. at Peoria Public Library Lincoln Branch Hot Air Balloon Room

To attend any of these discussions, please contact Roberta Koscielski at 309-497-2186 or


These programs were funded by an Illinois Speaks micro-grant from the Illinois Humanities Council and are designed to support efforts to understand and find solutions for the heroin and opiate epidemic that is occurring locally.

“The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, the IHC, our partnering organizations or our funders.”

Local Authors Wanted!

The Peoria Public Library will host a Local Author's Fair on Saturday, November 5 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.  Local Authors are invited to have a table and meet fans as well as sell books just in time for the holidays. The Friends of Peoria Public Library will handle all sales so authors will be free to speak with visitors. Twenty percent of sales will go to support The Friends who in turn support programs at Peoria Public Library. To participate, download the form or call (309) 497-2143.

Meet Author Jordon Sonnenblick on September 28

Award-winning author Jordan Sonnenblick is coming to Peoria! Winner of the 2008 Rebecca Caudill Award for Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie, Mr. Sonnenblick has written numerous books for teens and younger readers, including Dodger and Me, Notes from the Midnight Driver, and Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip. His newest book, Falling Over Sideways will be released on September 27. Mr. Sonnenblick will be at the Main Library on Wednesday, September 28 at 6:30 p.m. to talk about his latest book and meet readers of all ages.  Copies of Falling Over Sideways and other titles will be available for sale and signing. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will help support the Friends of Peoria Public Library. Learn more about Jordan Sonnenblick on his website.

Summer Reading Success

Another year of Summer Reading has been wrapped up! Peoria Public Library engaged almost 4, 000 readers of all ages in the seven week program that required just three hours a week of reading. Each week readers received a small weekly prize, ranging from magnetic bookmarks to chip clips to small pouches and ice cream coupons. Almost 1,000 summer readers who read at least six weeks then enjoyed a night out at Peoria Riverfront Museum and Caterpillar Visitor Center. They explored life as an astronaut, saw The Street, enjoyed the Planetarium and climbed in and out of enormous earth-moving machines -- all with wildly painted faces and fantastic balloon hats and animals. The program was made possible by the Friends of Peoria Public Library and many, many other generous sponsors. Summer Reading starts again next June, be sure to join us!

Free Library Apps Make Use Easy

Many of the online services from Peoria Public Library are now available through apps for your smartphone or tablet that you can download from the Playstore or the App Store.  Try Freegal Music and Freegal Movies for entertainment wherever you are.  To download e-books or audio books anytime of the day or night, look for the Axis360 and Overdrive apps. Take language learning with you wherever you go with the Mango Language app! Learn 60 languages, including English for ESL learners. Brainfuse homework help also now has an app. Students of all ages can set up an account on a computer and then use it on their tablet or phone. Brainfuse has live one-on-one tutoring and a wide variety of resources for students of all ages. Get an app today and enjoy the Peoria Public Library wherever you are!