Pekin Public Library spotlights 125+ years of history at ‘Business After Hours’

After a hiatus of about a year, the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce resumed its popular “Business After Hours” events on Thursday evening, April 8, 2021, when leaders of local business and community life attended a social gathering in the second-floor Community Room of the Pekin Public Library. Pekin Public Library Director Jeff Brooks took the occasion of its hosting “Business After Hours” to display a large number of its mementos and artifacts which illustrated the Pekin Public Library’s vital place in Pekin’s community life reaching back to 1866, when the prominent ladies of Pekin society organized the Ladies Library Association of Pekin, forerunner of the Pekin Public Library. The library’s local historian and researcher on staff, Jared Olar, also spoke for about 25 minutes, giving an overview of the library’s history from 1866 to the present. Throughout the event, a video highlighting the library’s history, prepared by Emily Lambe, public information and programming manager, was played.

“Business After Hours” at the Pekin Public Library is just one of the ways the library has been celebrating the 125th anniversary of the library’s existence (counting from February 1896, when the Pekin Library Association became a department of Pekin city government). Additional events will appear on the library’s program calendar throughout 2021.

Below are photographs from the April 8 “Business After Hours,” all taken by director Jeff Brooks.

Donna the Kangaroo, an orange plastic children’s rocking chair in the shape of a beloved character of an older generation of Australian children’s literature, is well-remembered by Pekinites for her many years in the Pekin Public Library’s Youth Services Department. Donna usually is kept safely in storage these days, but she came out the greet the attendees of the Pekin Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours on the library’s second floor Thursday evening, April 8, 2021. As part of the library’s 125th anniversary celebrations this year, the library will provide opportunities for photographs with Donna at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, and again at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 26.

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