See the location of all branches
Find which branch is open today and when
Find hours and information for Main Library
Find hours and information about North Branch
Find hours and information about Lincoln Branch
Find hours and information about Lakeview Branch
Everything you need to know about how to get and use your library card
Find out how long you can keep library materials.
From the bookmobile to the home-bound, Outreach has special services to bring the library to the community.
Find resources and records for genealogy and Peoria-area history
Find your next book with lists of award winners, staff picks or help from our staff
Download the forms you need and read information about how to reserve a room.
Get quick answers about everything from renewing books to applying for a library card.
Use this form to have library staff find an answer for you.
View the art owned by Peoria Public Library.
From birth up find resources for youth as well as parents and educators.
Information about how to request books from outside the RAILS library system.
This page highlights resources at Peoria Public Library available for educators
Find links to verified research students can use to complete assignments and help them study
Find helpful resources to prepare for a job search from resume writing to practice tests and interviews with a coach
Here are links to research helps for those working on family history
Links to all databases Peoria Public Library offers.
These resources will help those in business to create a mailing list, find investment information, learn another language, locate small business assistance and more
Health insurance information and resources
Find library events for all ages.
Download the library newsletter and read library news as well as the complete calendar.
See what book clubs are available, when they meet and what they are reading.
Music in the McKenzie offers a free concert monthly at North Branch. Find out who is playing.
Find out how to participate in our yearly Summer Reading program.
The Mayor's Community Coalition Against Heroin is providing information and discussion about the heroin epidemic in Peoria, Illinois.
Find animated storybooks, games and more that can be used by children alone or with a teacher or parent.
Tumblebooks Ebooks, read-alongs, graphic novels, educational videos, and audiobooks for ages 8 to 12 and 12 to adult.
Download e-books and audio books for all ages.
Audiobooks for children and adults you can play on your computer or tablet.
Download e-books and audiobooks for all ages.
link to the Freegal streaming and downloadable music service
Here are links to help you download digital books, audiobooks and music.
Listen to our staff experts talk about various topics like genealogy and graphic novels.
This page links to the Kanopy streaming movie service. Use your Peoria Public Library card to watch eight movies a month free.
Buy used books from the Friends at any of these locations. Sales support programming at Peoria Public Library.
Help the Friends support the library through a variety of volunteer opportunities.
Donate your books, music and movies the Friends to receive a tax deduction and help the library.
by Norman V. Kelly
Here in Peoria, Illinois the local newspapers reported the war news daily, listing casualties from the city and county of Peoria, Illinois. Just over 5,500 of our young men went off to ‘Fight the Hun,’ resulting in the death of 211 of them. However, on October 6, 1918 the headlines and stories reported a threat to the folks right here in town. They called it ‘La Grippe,’
the Spanish word for the flu which was at that time reaching epidemic status and apparently heading our way.
Health Commissioner Dr. George Parker reported that Spanish influenza cases in Peoria were growing in leaps and bounds and he warned that the epidemic would only get worse. The news terrorized the area and folks began to retreat inside their homes as much as they could. Still the flu spread and on October 8, 1918 the good doctor ordered theaters, churches, and public gathering places to close. To add to our local problem, thirty-seven of our physicians were in the United States Army. Parker asked that every nurse in the area report to his office so he could get help to the folks that were in dire straights. They responded along with retired nurses and women that had nursing experiences. ‘Hospitals’ were opened up in vacant buildings and masks were handed out by the hundreds to worried Peorians. Still the epidemic spread.
A CLOSED CITY
More orders were issued banning gatherings of any kind, including funeral services. All of the city hospitals were over crowded and more vacant buildings were used to open up temporary, make shift hospitals to care for the influenza victims. Peorians, as always, from service clubs to single volunteers banned together to help wherever they could. Most businesses were closed, and the city took on a vacant look as the disease spread along with the fear and isolation.
Physician’s offices were besieged with new patients even though there was little if anything the doctors had in the way of proper medicines. The patients were advised to stay warm, try to remain isolated, and drink plenty of juices and water.
One set back as far as the epidemic was concerned was a huge gathering of folks downtown when the false news of the war ending became a wild rumor. These people broke the ban on assembling, and Parker was certain the epidemic would destroy the city. The number of flu cases did indeed increase but not as badly as the doctor had predicted. Mayor Woodruff ordered the inhabitants of the city to clean up their area, including the alleys,
declaring that filth was a way for the disease to spread. This order did not come from Dr. Parker who doubted that cleaning up around the house would help. But…it did keep the healthy folks outside and away from their sick relatives.
As the city darkened, the factories began to close, the libraries and many of the restaurants and downtown businesses turned off their lights as well. By now there were 510 confirmed cases of Spanish Influenza in one stage or the other. Parker stated that there were probably many more unreported cases.
Throughout the ordeal the local authorities, led by Dr. Parker reminded people to stay calm, warm and hydrated. They asked every citizen to wear the gauze masks and simply avoid human contact if possible. The real heroes were the nurses that worked above and beyond the call of duty to help keep their city free of additional cases of influenza. Of course, many of them fell victim to the disease as well.
Within three additional weeks 525 more cases were reported, but mixed with the bad news was the fact that the disease seemed to be slowing down. That was good news to the beleaguered medical workers, but the fight was far from over.
MORE GOOD NEWS
Local newspapers reported that the Germans had agreed to treaty terms and it looked like it “Was over over there.” Still there were reports of Americans being killed and our local casualty flu count went up. The final count was 400 communities in the State of Illinois affected by the epidemic, and reports of deaths were coming in from all over. The big weapon against the flu seemed to be Vicks Vapor Rub, which of course was not a cure by any means. The final count here in Peoria, Illinois was 40 dead, many by complications of pneumonia.
By the end of October the major storm appeared to have passed. It was remarkable how a few sturdy doctors and nurses managed to take care of so many sick people. The volunteers, the Red Cross, the churches and the missions worked hundreds of hours to stop the spread of the plague here in town.
It was a prideful time for Peorians and officials praised the folks that fought in the front lines to save their city. Personally I can tell you that the spirit of this town was lifted far beyond what any miracle drug could have provided.
Of course we could have used one during those scary days of October 1918.
Editor’s Note: Norm welcomes your comments and you can also e-mail him: firstname.lastname@example.org
© Copyright 2017 Peoria Public Library. All Rights Reserved.