Decisive and divisive, the American Civil War still fascinates today. Because 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the war that divided the nation, Elmhurst Public Library is devoting its annual community reading event to the Civil War. Elmhurst Reads features events, exhibits and book discussions aimed at getting the community to talk about the war between the states.
This is the third year the library is presenting Elmhurst Reads, Head of Adult Services Catherine Ingram said. Each year, the library features a different author or a theme that readers can explore as a community. The commemoration of the start of the war inspired the planning committee's theme, Ingram said. And the committee worked hard to create a roster of programs and to generate participation throughout the community.
“The 2011 Elmhurst Reads program was really created by an entire team of dedicated staff,” Ingram said.
Along with Ingram, the team included Children's Library Department Head Sharon Karpiel, Adult Program Coordinator Nadine Bachman, Readers' Advisory Librarian Margie Kollbocker, Children's Library Program Coordinator Eileen Matthies, Public Information Coordinator Cheryl Moore and high school liaison Patti Palmer.
“We also had support and ideas from people all over the organization,” Ingram said.
Ingram's contribution was working to get community groups and businesses involved in the project. Along with the library, Elmhurst Park District, Elmhurst Historical Museum, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst Art Museum and Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art are just a few of the community groups staging exhibits, plays and other events related to Elmhurst Reads.
A number of businesses also joined in this year. Enjoy a southern-inspired chicory coffee at First Cup Cafe, learn to play Civil War-era instruments at Luscombe Music, take in a display of Dixie fashions at Enzee Boutique, and watch the drama sweep across the screen once again as the York Theatre offers two showings of “Gone With the Wind” on March 23.
According to Carol VanDyke, the business manager for Al's Hobby Shop, the store will feature a Civil War window diorama as well as artifacts from the era. The diorama will be raffled off and the store will sell Civil War soldiers at a discount through the end of March. The store is a past sponsor of the library's summer reading program, VanDyke said.
“This is a great way to learn history,” she said.
Elmhurst Reads also will feature:
- an evening with Mr. And Mrs. Lincoln on Wednesday, Feb.16
- Civil War Ghosts and Legends for teens on Saturday, Feb. 19
- a performance by the Battlefield Balladeers on Thursday, March 24
- a production of the play “Honest Abe” for kids on Monday, March 28
- two author visits in April
- a demonstration of food of the era on Saturday, April 2
- a visit with nurse Clara Barton on Wednesday, May 11
- an exhibit on “The Masks of Lincoln” through March 29
- book discussions for all ages
These are just a portion of the programs that will be offered.
“Even if you are not a big history buff, there are programs for everyone. From food to music to film, there is something to suit any interest,” Ingram said.