107 NE Monroe Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070


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      October 2018
        Volume 27, No. 10

Main Library Construction Continues

Main Library closed the first and second floors on September 17 in order to install a new heating and air conditioning system. While those floors are closed until they reopen on Monday, December 3, the Gallery, Friendly Finds Bookstore and Local History and Genealogy remain open.

All other branches are open regular hours and books and other materials may be accessed there as well as public computers and wifi.  There are no public computers available during construction at Main Library, or holds pickup. In addition to all other branches, patrons can download books and music, as well as do research, from the library website at www.peoriapubliclibrary.org.

At some point near the end of the project, all locations may be closed for a few days as the main electrical panel is replaced at Main Library. That electrical service interruption will disrupt the computer system, phones and catalog at all locations. The shutdown will be timed to cause the least disruption possible and will be announced on the library website. Please watch for cranes and other construction equipment in the alley and parking lot at Main Library.

The project is replacing the original 1960s system which is difficult to repair and inefficient. Funds did not allow for the system to replaced during the library’s building project which was completed about seven years ago.  The project was planned to coincide with more temperate weather as staff will continue to work in various departments in the building and there will be no heating or cooling. In addition to erasing the threat of a sudden, emergency closing during an HVAC failure, the new replacement system will be far more efficient, saving money and freeing space in mechanical rooms at Main Library.

New items that would normally be on the shelves at Main Library will be sent to branches during the closure of the first and second floors, so patrons can access them. Some groups that normally hold meetings at Main Library may be assigned to other branches, so please check with your group or call to confirm the meeting location. Phone assistance will be available as always by calling (309)497-2000.

Conservationist and Author Thor Hanson Speaks October 3

“Bees have enabled medical advancement and agricultural revolution; they’ve given us sweetness and light and the beauty of flowers; and to this day, they are responsible for as much as a third of the foodstuffs we eat,” according to Thor Hanson, author and conservation biologist. Hanson will be at North Branch on Wednesday, October 3 at 6 p.m. to talk about his latest book Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees.

Reviewers have called it “a natural history book…packs surprise after surprise with every turn of the page” and said “Thor Hanson is a magician at making entomology and taxonomy exciting, highlighting the fascinating world of bees.”

The adult program will be preceded by a program for children in the Beehive Storytime Room. Thor will read his popular children’s book Bartholomew Quill: A Crow’s Quest to Know Who’s Who which teaches about the importance of biodiversity. Books will also be available for sale and signing.

At 6:00 p.m. join Thor in the McKenzie Room for a reception catered by Cracked Pepper, book talk and book sale and signing. His exploration of bees had roots in his study of the DNA of mature trees and seeds and needing to know how all that pollen was moving around. Along the way he discovers much about not only bees, but flowers and the men and women who study them. From the rainforest to the desert, bees are busy and in danger. This important work looks deep into what makes bees tick.

Both programs are free and open to the public.

Author of Mr. Fuzzy Ears, Donna Roberts, to Visit Storytime

Peoria children’s author and illustrator Donna Roberts will be the special guest reader at Busy Bees Storytime at North Branch on Friday, October 5 from 10:30-11:00 a.m. Books will be available for sale and signing. All proceeds will go to support the Friends of Peoria Public Library and the Peoria Humane Society. The storytime is for all ages and those attending will hear the The Adventures of Mr. Fuzzy Ears: Searching for a Furry Friend, the story of Mr. Fuzzy Ears who has many adventures as he looks for a new friend. He finds them at the local Humane Society! The story is a message about the importance of loving and caring for pets and the importance of supporting the Humane Society. Donna Roberts is the Artist in Residence at Bradley University and her 24 beautiful watercolor illustrations fill the pages of the book with old fashioned charm. The book was written about her dogs, particularly Scamp who has the most amazing ears, hence the nickname “Mr. Fuzzy Ears”.

A symphony is being written about The Adventures of Mr. Fuzzy Ears and the world premiere will be performed by the Peoria Symphony Orchestra on January 20, 2019 when an actor will read the book while illustrations are shown on screen.

Visit the Senior Expo on Saturday, October 27!

By Becky Kinney

George Burns once said, “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”  The Peoria Public Library Senior Expo will give seniors an opportunity to learn about services and business in Peoria that cater to them.  Browse through various stations like Greater Peoria Honor Flight, Peoria Charter, the American Sewing Guild, Common Place, Organ/Tissue Donor Program, YMCA, Salvation Army, Grand View Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener and Naturalist programs, and many others.  Feel free to stop and visit with one of the “roaming” area celebrities as you learn about outreach services, clubs to join, volunteer opportunities, and much more.   Interested in Genealogy?  Learn more at the Peoria Public Library Genealogy table.  

Attendees stand to gain a great deal more than awareness and knowledge of community resources and activities.  For instance, everyone will be given a “goody bag” upon entering that includes a list of amazing senior discounts to be found in Peoria.  Each attendee is also eligible for prize drawings that include a range of gift cards and an oil change package.  You do not need to be present to win.  

This fun and informative event will be held at the North Branch McKenzie Room on Saturday, October 27 from 1:00 -5:00 p.m.  Bring a friend and enjoy exploring what Peoria has to offer!

See the Stamp Display at North Branch

By Debra Dukes

To celebrate National Stamp Month, the North Branch is hosting a display of stamps and philatelic collectibles on loan from the Peoria Philatelic Society. National Stamp Month was created in 1981 by the Council of Philatelic Organizations and the United States Post Office. If you aren’t familiar with the term, a philatelist is the term for a person who loves stamps.

The Peoria Philatelic Society began in 1933 with a group of 22 collectors. The club was soon chartered as a chapter of the American Philatelic Society. The group reorganized after World War II under the name of the Peoria Stamp Club. They continued hosting and attending many exhibitions even on state and national levels. The name changed again in the late 1940s to The Peoria Philatelic Society.

The Peoria Philatelic Society meets at the North Branch every fourth Thursday (except for November and December when they meet on the third Thursday) at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend and all philatelists are welcome. The group will be happy to answer any questions you might have on the subject.

Local Author Norm Kelly Donates Research to Peoria Public Library

Norm Kelly, local author and lifelong Peorian is known for his tales of Peoria, including the murders and mayhem that made Peoria famous in days-gone-by. His three books and myriad short stories are all based on the tremendous amount of research he has done, much of it in the Peoria Public Library Local History and Genealogy Room.

Now officially retired, Norm, who previously retired from being a private detective, has donated all of his research and the articles he wrote with the research to Peoria Public Library. Because he is frequently contacted by people from all over the world for more information and the original research behind his stories, Norm felt it was important to have his work accessible to the public. He has been a long time contributor and author for many area publications, the Peoria Public Library TV show, now available on YouTube, and many of his stories are published on the library website under the Local History tab.

Library staff has been working to index and file the Norm Kelly Collection so that it is easy to use. To access the collection, visit the Local History and Genealogy Room on LL1 at Main Library.

Haunting for Records

By Amber Lowery

Perhaps one of the most famous “haunted” locations in the Peoria area is the Peoria State Hospital, usually called the “old state hospital” by locals. Although it was torn down a couple of years ago, almost every native Peorian has a story about the old asylum. One of the most well-known is the story of “Old Book.” If you have not heard that story, ask to read it here at the library. We have many books that cover not only that story, but also the history of the facility and the work of Dr. George Zeller, superintendent of the facility for many years and pioneer to mental health education and understanding.

But what does this have to do with genealogy?

Every month or so, I get a question regarding the residents of the old state hospital. Usually, a patron has done some research and discovered someone on their tree spent some time or died there. Their first question is always: “Where can I get those records?” Sadly, every time, my answer is one I dislike giving: “You cannot get them.” The follow up question is: “But why?” I know this frustration as a genealogist.

As such, here is what we know of the records regarding the residents of the Peoria State Hospital. After the Bartonville location closed, the records and patients were removed to Zeller Mental Health Center (now known as Illinois Central College’s North Peoria campus). In 2002, the facility was shut down permanently. We were informed that the records then went to a mental health center in Rockford. However, after a few years, that place, too, ceased. A couple of years ago, through some dedicated digging by a fellow Peoria Public Library staff member, it was discovered the records are now held in the Illinois State Archives in Springfield, but they are inaccessible. This lack of access is not a new thing, however. According to others who have tried, these records are heavily protected by privacy laws regarding health records.

That said, the Peoria Public Library’s Local History and Genealogy collection can provide some overall answers that may help. Stop in and see what we can help you discover about your family!

Hot New Titles Coming in October 2018

By Robin Helenthal

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain begins in 1970 when Carly Sears, a young widow, finds that the child she is carrying has a fatal heart defect. The doctors tell her there is nothing they can do. She moves in with her sister Patti and her brother-in-law Hunter, a physicist with a secret past. Hunter tells her that there might be a way to save her baby and reveals his secret, he is a time traveler. He arranges with the head of a time-travel research program for Carly to time travel to 2001 where her unborn child can have experimental fetal surgery and Carly can have her baby. Things go awry when the 9/11 attack on New York happens and Carly’s new born daughter becomes ill and has to remain hospitalized for four months. Carly is forced to return to 1970 without her daughter. Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to bring you a novel you will not soon forget.

The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston is the first book in a new series. Xanthe Westlake and her mother, Flora, leave London and decide to make a new start by taking over a small antique shop in Marlborough. Xanthe has the gift of psychometry, which is when a person touches an inanimate object, and they become connected with the events or person, that owned that object. When Xanthe finds a 17th century silver key belt or chatelaine, it begins to sing to her and pulls her into a time traveling mission to save a mistakenly accused servant girl who has been charged with theft. Things heat up when the antique shop ghost, mother of the servant girl threatens to take Flora’s life if Xanthe fails. This is a blend of magic, adventure and romance that is sure to be an interesting read.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton is a story of that spans the generations from the 1860s to present day at Birchwood Manor in Oxfordshire. The book begins when Elodie, a young archivist, finds a sketch of a country house and the photo of a woman in Victorian clothes in her employer’s satchel. Something in the sketch reminds Elodie of a house that her late mother used to tell her about, so she decides to do some research and finds that the sketch is of a real house called the Birchwood Manor and thus begins the tale of the various occupants of the house between 1862 and the present. It is a story of murder, mystery, thievery, love and loss. The spirit of a clockmaker’s daughter has watched it all unfold as she lingers outside the realm of time and chained to the manor.


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