Thursday, April 25, 2013


     Pekin Public Library Director Jeff Brooks explains to members of the Museum membership meeting group about documents which were housed in the cornerstone at the old Carnegie Library

Story and Photos by Ed Emmons ( Museum Website Director )

The Tazewell County Museum and Educational Center held a membership meeting Wednesday evening in the Community Room at the Pekin Public Library. The meeting started at 6 p.m. and was conducted by Museum President Christal Dagit.

Left: Museum President Christal Dagit speaks to the membership group at the Pekin Public Library

Christal talked about future plans for the Museum, and what criteria would be needed in finding a new home for the Museum. Christal went on to say that the Museum must be located on Government owned property in order to secure grants available to them. She also said that an Associate Board had been formed in order to accomplish this task. She also said that the Museum is looking into holding a banquet to honor their many volunteers.

Christal then went on to read the Board Meeting Minutes of April 9, 2013.

The meeting was brought to order at 10:00 a.m. by Christal Dagit

Secretary's report was approved as read

Treasurer's report

County Historical Commission

A. Civil War-As the search goes on locating the veterans of the War of 1812, it has been discovered that many of their sons and grandsons were in the Civil War.

B. The War of 1812 lapel pins are still for sale for $5.00.

C. Locating the graves of the veterans of the War of 1812 is still ongoing.


A. Donation/Pledge letters for 2013 have not been sent out. We are working on getting new members.

Space Quilt Project-Ken Crawford put a quilt rack up so that the quilts can be put on display.

George Beres-Book articles are more than three-quarters typed by Gayle. They need to be proof read and pictures need to be found to go along with the articles.

Museum Site-Christal is still talking to people.

Building Fund-3 theater seats have been sold and the money will go into the building fund.

Web Site-Ed Emmons had revised the web site.

Newsletters-will be sent out next week.

Native American Report-Plans by the French Heritage Corridor are being made to purchase a Gomo marker for the Illinois History Site.

Veterans Report-The Museum has been given a new Korean War Uniform with medals from Kenny Beck.

Associate Board- is waiting for a meeting date and people willing to serve on the board.

Newsletter-The newsletter will be sent out next week and will include information about pictures that copies will be for sale at the museum.

Parades-Christal will obtain a list of parades in Tazewell County to participate in to increase visibility for the museum.

Karen Blome-Reported that $30.00 worth of books and Indian girl dolls, were sold at the Family and Business Expo.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:55.

Barbara Tidaback


     Pekin Public Library Director Jeff Brooks speaks to Museum membership meeting Wednesday evening at the Library

Pekin Public Library Director Jeff Brooks was the guest speaker at the Museum's membership meeting Wednesday evening. Jeff spoke about the Libraries new strategic plans. He said that in March the Library Board of Trustees approved the Fy2014-2019 Strategic Plan.

The planning committee spent almost a year gathering and analyzing data from various reports and community surveys which helped them chart the direction of the Library for the next five years.

The previous plan which ended a year ago called for, among many other things, increased technology training offering. While we will continue to offer programs and services stemming from our old plan, there was support for our new plan to direct us back to basics, to get better at providing our services, and to do our best to make sure the community learns what is going on at the Library. Finally, making sure that we provide our services in a safe, accessible building that meets the needs of our customers and that will continue to be a goal as long as these issues exist.

So with that background, it is my pleasure to introduce the key components of our FY 2014-2019 Strategic Plan:

Mission Statement

Pekin Public Library serves as the community's information center and gathering place. People have the opportunity to connect, discover, conduct the business of life, and leave enriched and satisfied.

Vision Statement

We want Pekin to be a prosperous community that values civility, knowledge, and connectivity. The community should have a safe, neutral place to interact; take advantage of educational, recreational and cultural opportunities; and discover the resources to achieve personal goals.

Core Strategies

Implement a formal training program to address safety readiness, core competencies, customer service and communication.

Raise early literacy levels in the community.

Develop a marketing plan for traditional, social, and alternative outlets.

Renovate facility and develop/update library grounds.

With those remarks, Jeff took the group upstairs, which used to house the Dirksen Center.

Left: Jeff Brooks, Director of the Pekin Public Library, explains to Museum membership members what is housed upstairs at the Library.

Many people don't even know that the library even has a second floor, where the Dirksen Center was located for many years.

Jeff had laid out items on a table that were in a cornerstone at the old Carnegie Library in Pekin. A woman by the name of Mary C. Gaither wrote Andrew Carnegie to raise money for the Library.

Left: Photo of Mary C. Gaither who wrote letter to Andrew Carnegie

The cornerstone box which was in the old Carnegie Library housed many documents, including deeds, old newspapers, and many other documents which were important to that time period. The box which housed the documents was made by Louis Zinger.

Left: This business card from cornerstone box maker Louis Zinger was in the box.

Other items in the box included 3 old newspapers that used to be in Pekin. Daily Evening Post, dated Feb. 13, 1896, Pekin Free Press, which was in German, and The Pekin Daily Tribune, dated Feb. 1896.

Who knew that the Pekin Times is Pekin's 4th newspaper, I didn't.

                A copy of The Pekin Daily Tribune, dated Feb. 1896

Other items included a photo of Andrew Carnegie:

Left: Photo of Andrew Carnegie

Right: Key to the Old Tazewell County Courthouse

Left: Also included in cornerstone box was this issue of Pekin's Free Street Fair, dated 1899

Right: The upstairs at the Library also is home to old Pekin Directories

Left: Pekin High School year books, which run from the 1940's to current ones.

The Tazewell County Museum wishes to thank Jeff Brooks for his time to speak with the group and the tour which was truly interesting.

Further updates from the Museum are forthcoming on events.


Anonymous said...

What a great story and pictures!

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