Fans of reading and history can liven up a dull January with free adult programming from the Rock Island Public Library. Options include a look at Italian POWs, a new short-run book club, library history and Black history conversations.
New RIPL Programs for Fans of History, Reading, and Books in 2023!
Fans of reading and history have multiple options to liven up a dull January, with free events on Rock Island Arsenal history, a 150th anniversary book club discussion, an online author talk on inciting joy, talks on library and a Black history discussion series. The Library’s free adult enrichment programs for January include:
POWs Return: The Italian Quartermaster Service Company at Rock Island Arsenal, Wednesday, January 11, at 2 pm, Rock Island Downtown Library, 401 19th Street. Did you know that Italian POW “signees” lived and worked at Rock Island Arsenal in the later years of World War II? After Italy agreed to join the allied powers, Italians were permitted to volunteer for non-combat duty in special service units of the U.S. Army according to an article by Army Sustainment Command historian Mark Struve. Find out more about this fascinating bit of little-known local history with a free presentation by Army Sustainment Command Historians as they explore the history of the Rock Island Arsenal, the US Military, and the Quad Cities.
The same presentation repeats later the same day at 6 pm at the Davenport Public Library Eastern Avenue Branch. Davenport Library will also record and upload the video. For more info, see the Davenport Public Library’s online calendar.
Also on Wednesday, January 11, adults can join an online conversation with best-selling essayist and award-winning poet Ross Gay, who will discuss his new book, “Inciting Joy,” Presented through the Rock Island Public Library’s membership in Illinois Libraries Present, the online event starts at 7:00 pm via Zoom. To register and receive the Zoom link, please visit the library’s online calendar or call 309-732-7341.
Ross will discuss his most recent collection of essays, Inciting Joy, with performance poet Dan “Sully” Sullivan, reflecting on the joy we incite when we turn our attention to what we love and what brings us together. Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His first collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller.Dan “Sully” Sullivan is a three-time Chicago Poetry Slam Champion. His poems and performances have been featured on HBO Def Poetry Jam, WGN Morning News, and National Public Radio. Sully’s first full-length book of poems, The Blue Line Home, is available from EM-Press. Illinois Libraries Present is a statewide collaboration among public libraries offering premier events.
For an in-person way to connect with other readers, the first of four meetings of the 150th Anniversary Book Club is Thursday, January 12 at 5 pm, at the Downtown Library, 401 19th Street. The quarterly book club will discuss books that connect with the world of libraries, Rock Island, and other 150-year anniversaries. The first meeting will discuss The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, by Eva Jurczyk. Refreshments will be provided, and the event is free and open to the public. For future titles in the short-run book club, please see the library calendar.
In another event connected to the Library’s year-long celebration of its 150th anniversary year, Reference Librarian Nathan Simmons will present on the “History of the Public Library,” at 2 pm on Tuesday, January 17, also at the Downtown Library. Simmons will focus on the general history of public libraries with a focus on the evolution of American public library buildings, collections, and users, prior to the pivotal year of 1872. The talk also considers the founding principles of public libraries, and their role in American culture.
Readers of all ages, including adults, can also sign up for the library’s free “150 Winters” Winter Reading Challenge, which offers prize drawings for participants who complete 10 or more digital badges for reaching winter reading and activity goals between January 14 and February 25. The challenge is free and open to all ages. To participate via the Rock Island Public Library Beanstack site or Beanstack mobile tracker app, sign in with an existing Beanstack account. A password reset option is available. New users may register a free Beanstack account. To login, visit the library website. A paper logging form is also available at the Rock Island Library website.
At the end of January, the library and community members kick off a six-part discussion series, Why Black History? The Saturday conversation series is led by community members from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Downtown Library from January 28 through March 4. Part one of the series, “Boot Camp - Black History: Solving for "X," is facilitated by Diana Anita Allen and friends. Participants can expect to learn and discuss in a group setting. The event is best suited to adults and teens, but is open to anyone. Registration is optional, and includes email reminders. To register or learn more about these community conversation events, visit the library website.
All Rock Island Public Library events are presented at no charge and are open to the public. For more library services and upcoming events, please visit the library website, call 309-732-READ, or follow Rock Island Public Library on Facebook and Instagram.