As the leaves are turning colors and the temperatures cool, Rock Island Public Library is going to be falling over itself to make autumn a fun season for area families! The library has a full slate of events upcoming. Here’s the lowdown:
Rock Island Public Library Full of Fall Fun!

Back to School! August – December 2019 Events

Adults, General Audiences

New: Bangtan Book Club. Monthly on Thursdays at 5:30 pm, see date for location. Do you know BTS, the Korean-pop band? Then you know their music is filled with literary influences! Join us monthly as we meet to discuss the books that have inspired certain BTS albums. Starting with their album Love Yourself: Tear, we’ll work our way back to the Most Beautiful Moment in Life music series. Join us to explore the books, and share your thoughts and theories about other BTS content with other local fans. Please register. Sign up online or call. Teens and adults.

·         Thursday, August 15: Discussing The Magic Shop, by Dr. James M. Doty, which inspired the BTS song of the same name. Location: 30/31 Library.

·         September 19:  The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas , by Ursula K. Le Guin, at 30/31 Library

·         October 17Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth, by Hermann Hesse, at 30/31 Library

·         November 21Kafka On The Shore, by Haruki Murakami, at Downtown Library.

Alpha Book Discussion Group: Monthly book discussion, first Monday of the month (when open) Downtown Library Community Room, 401 19th Street. Open to all, limited quantities of each month’s book available at Reference Desk (or ask staff to find it within our system.) To attend, read the book and show up!

·         September 9 – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

·         October 7 – Forty Autumns by Nina Willner

·         November 4 – The Tattooist of Auchwitz by Heather Morris

·         December 2 – Whiteout by Ken Follett

·         February 3, 2020 – Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg

·         March 2 –Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

·         April 6 –The Brothers K by David James Duncan

·         May 4 –Varina by Charles Frazier

30/31 Book Club: 6:30 pm, 3rd Wednesday, 30/31 Branch. All those who have read the book are welcome to attend. Can borrow a copy to read from our book club kit if you attend previous month or ask at 30/31 desk. Copies may be limited.

·         September 18: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

·         October 16: A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

·         November 20: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

·         December: NO meeting

Southwest Branch Book Club –6:00 pm, 4th Tuesday every other month at the Southwest Branch, Sept. – May. All those who have read the book are welcome to attend. Can borrow a copy to read from our book club kit or ask at Southwest desk. Copies may be limited.  

·         September 24: The Word is Murder, Anthony Horowitz

·         November 26Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware

·         January  TBD


Last Call Book ClubThird Tuesday each month, 7:00 pmIcons Martini Bar, 124 18th St, Rock Island IL. Enjoy a cocktail or two while talking about this month’s book. This group meets in the back room of Icons. Drinks are available for purchase. Must be 21 or older.

·         August 20: The Paris Seamstress, by Natasha Lester.

·         Sept. 17: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

·         Oct. 15: Broken, by Daniel Clay.

·         Nov. 19: Educated, by Tara Westover.

·         December – No meeting

Southwest Craft Nights (open to all, registration needed.) 6:00 pm, 2nd Tuesday of each month, Rock Island Southwest Library, 9010 Ridgewood Road. Free, materials supplied. Register online at or call 309-732-7338.

·         Sept. 10: Decorated treasure chest

·         Oct. 8: Paper Lanterns

·         Nov. 12: Box of Thanks

·         Dec. 10: Mice Candy Canes

SEW Much Fun (adults, registration needed.)

Sew a small project with our do-it-yourself project nights, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, 2nd Thursday of month, Rock Island Downtown Library. Materials and sewing machines provided courtesy of the Rock Island Public Library Foundation. Most projects suitable for beginners, although these are not learn to sew classes. Registration needed if you are not bringing your own sewing machine.( Library machines are limited.) Sign up online at or call 309-732-7302.

Revised project schedule:

·         August 8: Travel Jewelry Case

·         September 12: Napkin Rings

·         Not offered October – December


Gettin’ Stitchy With It, 2:00 to 4:00 pm, August 22, September 26, October 24, Downtown Library, Community Room. Adults – 18 and up. A new “club” starting for anyone with an itch to stitch, whether you are a knitter, crocheter, sewer, cross stitcher or have some other project with stitches involved.  Let’s get together and work on them and share information. (Repeat pattern, 4th Thursday of the month) No meetings November or December due to holidays.

Cinema at Southwest, 10:00 am to 12:30 pm, Free movie and light refreshments, 3rd Thursday of each month, RI Southwest Library, 9010 Ridgewood Road. Movies announced one-month prior to each screening, see website for details.

·         Thursday, August 15: Shazam

·         Thursday, September 19: Breakthrough

·         October 17

·         November 21

·         December 19

Online Genealogy Series: Video series designed to help you make the most of your online genealogy searching with free resources and tips. Get the best results with expert help! 6:00 pm to 7:15 pm, Rock Island Downtown Library, following dates and topics left in the five-part series:

·         August 28: Making the Most of Renowned genealogy expert James Tanner takes you step-by-step through, an amazing and free resource. Learn how to find those important tidbits that can fill the gaps in your family tree. is an online genealogy resource with extensive resources for personal genealogy. Registration is required, and it is completely free to use. Though sponsored by the Church of Latter Day Saints, no church membership is required and users are not solicited in any way to become one. Materials are freely available to anyone who logs in.

·         September 11: Using Multiple Online Genealogy Programs to Find Your Ancestors. Genealogy expert James Tanner guides the amateur genealogist in the best ways to use the vast resources of data mined through the Internet. Learn how to combine the advantages of each major online portal, which open access to digitized materials makde available online. Access to these is available from home computers or at free public library computers. Sites mentioned in this program complement each other when their individual strengths are combined. You’ll walk away with more tips and insights to help you uncover family discoveries.

Family Footprints: What DNA Can Do for Your Family Genealogy Research: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, Rock Island Downtown Library. Have you considered taking a DNA test for family heritage, but are confused about which company to use? Have you received family ancestry DNA results and wonder how to use them? Curious about what DNA testing can do for your genealogy research? Discover new ways to break through walls in your family trees, with information from presenter Amber Lowery on what DNA can tell about you! Come learn about genetic genealogy and the differences between the various DNA kits.

Longer: Over the past few years, the availability of DNA testing services for family history have experienced rapid growth. With several companies offering a wide variety of services, and stories full of conflicting information, it can be difficult to determine if and where to test your own DNA. Whether you are trying to uncover your family’s past, or are just curious about where your ancestors came from, DNA testing can be a great way to open new paths in your research. Take this unbiased opportunity to learn what DNA can reveal about your ancestors, and how to use the information to break walls in your research. Delve into the twists and turns of genetic genealogy that leaves family fingerprints in our DNA.

About our speaker: Following in the footsteps of her mother, Amber Lowery has worked in libraries for over 20 years, most recently as a Reference Assistant at Peoria Public Library, predominantly in their Local History and Genealogy department. Always ready for the thrill of a hunt or a quest to go on, keeping family history alive is a passion for her. She started working with DNA in 2016 and has become very eager to share her knowledge and discoveries through DNA and family research.  In her not-so-spare time, she also enjoys crafting, telling stories, and helping others discover their genealogy.

Orphan Train: 2:00 pm, Wednesday, August 21, Rock Island Downtown Library. From 1854 to 1929, many orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children were placed throughout the United States and Canada as part of the Orphan Train Movement. On the 90th anniversary of the end of the trains, learn about orphans dropped off in the Midwest from historian Angie Snook, of the Geneseo History Museum.

Historic Bridges of the Quad Cities: 2:00 pm, Tuesday, September 10, Rock Island Downtown Library. Have you seen the I-74 Virtual Bridge Tour at the Rock Island Library? While we’re looking forward to a new bridge, let’s look back and learn about the history of bridges in the Iowa and Illinois Quad Cities. Our presenters, Curt Roseman and Bob Replinger are writing a book on this topic, and have a lot of interesting history to share.

Sneak Peek event – Ken Burns’ Country Music, 2:00 pm, Monday, September 16, Downtown Library. Advance screening with WQPT-TV, featuring an excerpt from an episode of Country Music, Ken Burns’ new eight-part documentary series for PBS.

In his 16-hour documentary series, acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns explores the remarkable stories of the people and places behind a true American art form. From its deep and tangled roots in ballads, blues and hymns performed in small settings, to its worldwide popularity, learn how country music evolved over the course of the 20th century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music. Country Music features never-before-seen footage and photographs, plus interviews with more than 80 country music artists. Get an advance look before it airs on WQPT-TV Quad Cities PBS in late September!

Downton Abbey Tea & Trivia: 6:00 to 7:30 pm, Wednesday, Sept. 18, Downtown Library. Join us for tea and trivia as we review Downton Abbey Seasons 1-6 to prepare for the release of the new movie. The Downton Abbey film hits theatres Sept. 20! British refreshments provided, and prizes for the top three trivia finishers. Teams of 5 or less may enter, so grab some friends and join us. (Feel free to wear your above stairs or below stairs costumes if you want!) Free, registration required. Call or sign up online.

I-74 Bridge Update, 2:00 pm, Tuesday, September 24, Downtown Library. You’ve driven over it, detoured around it, and maybe even explored it through virtual reality. Now find out how they’re building it, and get an update on progress from George Ryan, I-74 Corridor Manager. Find out how this once-in-a-lifetime project is coming together!

Banned Books Week Reading & Celebration, Tuesday, Sept. 24. 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, Downtown Library, Community Room. Local librarians, educators, and literature fans read passages from their favorite books that have either faced outright bans or challenges. Check-in and refreshments at 5:30 pm, readings 6 to 7:30 pm. Come to read or just listen. Put your name in for Banned Books Week giveaways! The 6th annual event is presented by the Rock Island Library and the Midwest Writing Center during Banned Books Week, which celebrates the freedom to read and think as you like. Adults, older teens.

Fall Craft: Book Pumpkin, 6:00 pm, Tuesday, October 1, Downtown Library. This free and fun event helps adults tune into their crafty sides and enjoy the art of making. Participants will make a book pumpkin centerpiece out of recycled books. Perfect for anyone who loves autumn! Registration required, open now. Call or sign up online.

Financial Fraud and How to Prevent It, Thursday, October 3 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, Downtown Library. Join representatives from TBK Bank for free information on different types of financial fraud and how to prevent becoming a victim. Free, light refreshments provided. No registration needed.

World War II Series – Talks by an Army Sustainment Command historian, 2nd Wednesday of each month, with the exception of September & November, alternating months between afternoon and evening. Presented in conjunction with Davenport Public Library. All Rock Island lectures at the Downtown Library, 401 19th Street.

October 9:The Philippine Campaign/Battles of Leyte and Luzon, 6 pm Rock Island Library (2 pm DPL)

Dec. 11: Battle of the Bulge, 2 pm Rock Island Library (6 pm DPL)

Cowboy Courage: Westerns and the Portrayal of Bravery, 2:00 pm, Wednesday, October 16, Downtown Library. William Hampes, author of the book “Cowboy Courage,” uses discussion and video clips from film and television westerns to show how courage and lead to, and even enrich, other virtues such as redemption, authenticity, love, friendship, community allegiance, justice, and growing up and growing old successfully. Explore how different types of courage, (physical, moral, psychological) lead characters towards overcoming personal challenges.

Dr. Bill Hampes was a professor of psychology for 38 years at St. Michael’s College, Louisiana State University at Eunice, and Black Hawk College, where he is now professor emeritus of psychology and sociology. He has published articles in academic journals on the psychology of humor, as well as travel articles for the  Dispatch and Midwest Streams and Trails. He lives in East Moline, Illinois.

How to Build a Dam: Construction of Lock and Dam #15 at Rock Island. 6:00 pm, Wednesday, October 23, Downtown Library. Lock and Dam #15 at Rock Island is an engineering marvel of that’s been in place for 85 years. Recently, the library received fascinating video footage taken in 1934 as the lock and dam was being constructed. See this two-part documentary, produced without sound, and follow the progress from beginning to completion. See how workers used the construction methods of the 1920s and early 30s to pull off an amazing feat of building such a durable structure in the middle of the Mississippi River.

A second, shorter video brings Lock and Dam #15 to the present day. How does a river lock work? How can a barge make it through the lock when it is too long? Where does the Army Corps of Engineers fit into the picture? Why is the system of locks and dams so important to the Upper Mississippi River and to Rock Island?

Come and learn about this vital part of the Quad Cities. Fascinating information for all ages!

Ghosts of the Quad Cities, Oct. 29 at 6:00 pm, Downtown Library Community Room. Dive Into the supernatural history of the Quad Cities with the authors of a new book. Divided by state lines and the Mississippi River, the Quad  Cities, share a common haunted heritage. If anything, the seam that runs through the region is especially rife with spirits, from the Black Angel of Moline’s Riverside Cemetery to the spectral Confederate POWs of Arsenal Island.

Of course, the city centers have their own illustrious supernatural residents—the Hanging Ghost occupies  Davenport’s City Hall, while the Phantom Washwoman wanders Bettendorf’s Central Avenue.  At  Igor’s Bistro in Rock  Island, every day is Halloween. Michael McCarty and Mark McLaughlin hunt down the haunted lore of our vibrant community.

Frieze Lecture Series, presented by Rock Island Public Library and Augustana College. The Power of Protest: 1969 and Today is the overall theme of this year’s series. Features presentations by Augustana College professors on four Tuesdays at 2:00 pm, Rock Island Downtown Library Community Room. October 22, 29, November 5, 12. All presentations are free and open to the public; stay after to discuss what you’ve heard over coffee and cookies.

Daughters of the Steppes: The “Night Witches” of World War II. 6:00 pm, Wednesday, November 13, Downtown Library. Author Brooks Carver brings to light a different story from World War II – the first all- female air force that flew combat missions in World War 2.  Called “the Night Witches” by the German Luftwaffe, young 18-to-23-year-old Russian women flew dangerous missions by night. Many sacrificed their lives while becoming the highest decorated regiment in the Soviet air force. Learn about this lesser-known story of World War II from the author of Daughters of the Steppes, The Night Witches of World War II.

During World War II, the Night Witches were the only all-female fighting force facing the dreaded German Luftwaffe. These 18 to 23 year-old Russian women became the first in the world to fly combat missions. The young pilots of these first “stealth” bombers were among the most feared units by the Germans during the war. The Night Witches, as the Germans called them, were also the most highly decorated regiment in the Soviet air force, despite derision by their male counterparts.

Tuneful Tuesdays: Noon to 1:00 pm, 1st Tuesday of month, December 2019 to April 2020, Downtown Library. Come enjoy a free musical performance over the lunch hour! Bring your lunch and enjoy live music at your library. Tuneful Tuesdays is funded by Carol and Jim Horstmann, The Rock Island Public Library Foundation. Our winter series kicks off December 3.

·         Tuesday, December 3, TBA

·         January 7: Chordbusters VLQ. Enjoy the a cappella renderings of barbershop music with the Quad Cities own Chordbusters Very Large Quartet.

Mixed Age Event – Teens and Adults

Haunted Escape Room: 5:30 to 7:30 pm, October 22, Downtown :Library. Escape rooms are a fun way to spend time with family and friends, as well as a way to try your hand at creative problem solving. Groups have to work together to solve the puzzle, so you’re building team skills, too. A free library escape room is an entertaining and affordable way to learn by doing. Also, Halloween! Teens ages 12 to 18 and adults. Register as a group or on your own, starting October 1. Registration closes Oct. 21. To sign up, or call 309-732-READ.

Children’s Fall Events

Hug-A-Book Create: Tuesday, August 27, 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, Rock Island Downtown Library. Part of the Rock Island Library’s Hug-A-Book early learning programming, HUG-A-Book Create offers creative art projects for little ones ages 2 to 5 and their families. Our very own Miss Ranell will help you spark creative learning! Children receive a Hug-A-Book create apron and a free book, thanks to ongoing funding from the Merrill Harris Memorial of the Rock Island Public Library Foundation.

Hug-A-Book: Pets at PLAY: 5:30 to 7:00 pm , Thursday, October 3, Rock Island Downtown Library. Drop in learning through PLAY activities about pets for preschoolers and their families.

Presented in partnership with the Learning Through Play programs of AOK Early Childhood Network, Child Abuse Council, Rock Island Regional Office of Education and WQPT Quad Cities PBS. Each child gets a free book and bag to take home, courtesy of funding from the Merrill Harris Fund of the Rock Island Public Library Foundation. No RSVP needed, no charge.

Petite Picassos: Create messy art at the library. Fun for ages five and under with parent or caregiver.

·         Southwest: 10:30 am, Wednesday, Sept. 11, Oct. 16

·         30/31 Library: 10:30 am, Tuesday, Sept. 10 and Oct. 8

·         Downtown: 10:30 am, Fridays, Sept. 13 and October 25.

Play and Grow: Monthly play group at alternating locations for ages three and under and their caregivers promotes early literacy through Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play activities. Learning for parents and caregivers, too!

·         10:30 am, Tuesday, August 13 at 30/31 Library,

·         10:30 am, Wednesday, Sept. 4 at Southwest,

·         10:30 am, Friday, Nov. 5 at Downtown,

·         10:30 am, Wednesday, Dec. 4 at Southwest.

Firefighter Storytime: Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 10:30 am, Rock Island 30/31 Library. Join us during Fire Prevention Month to build awareness of firefighters’ roles in keeping us safe. Ages five and under with caregiver will hear a story read by a firefighter, see what fire safety equipment looks like, and get a chance to see a big red fire truck up close.

Toddler Tales Storytimes: Join us for stories and crafts organized around a different theme, all designed to support the learning needs of children five and under with their caregivers. Storytimes promote early literacy and help your child be ready to learn. Free, no registration needed.

·         30/31 Library: 10:30 am, Tuesdays, August 20, August 27, Sept. 3

·         Southwest Library: 10:30 am, Wednesdays, August 14, August 21, and 28

·         Downtown Library: 10:30 am, Fridays, August 16, August 23, August 30 and Sept. 6

SLIMEY STEAM SATURDAY!: Saturday, September 21 at 1:30 pm, Downtown Library, in Children’s Room. SLIME is amazing stuff. Join us to make and play with slime as we discover what makes it slip. For school ages grades K-6, families. Registration required so there’s enough SLIME to go around. Call or sign up online.

STEAM SATURDAY! Saturday, November 2 at 1:30 pm, Downtown Library, Children’s Room. Fun STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art or math) activity for school ages K – 6 and families. Please register.

Rocket into Reading: Special activities and library resources to encourage your new or growing reader. Rocket into the next stage of reading with these Hug-A-Book programs for ages 5 to 8 and their families! Each child gets to pick out a book to take home, and a string bag. Offered twice during intersession: 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, Saturday, October 5 at the Downtown Library, and 6:00 to 7:00 pm, Tuesday, October 15 at our Southwest Library. (Southwest features a visit from the dogs of QC CAN, the Quad City Canine Assistance Network. Read to a friendly dog!)

Interactive Movie afternoon, 1:00 pm, Friday, December 27, Rock Island Downtown Library. For family fun over the holiday break, try an interactive version of a favorite holiday-themed movie. Interact with the movie using our bag full of props. Hosted by our children’s and adult services departments, for all ages. Registration required for everyone attending. Sign up online at or call 309-732-READ through December 26. Put the library on your list for after-holiday fun!


Holidays and Special Closings for Fall:

Labor Day: Monday, Sept. 2
Thanksgiving Day: Thursday, Nov. 28
Day After Thanksgiving: Friday, Nov. 29

Christmas Eve: Tuesday, Dec. 24
Christmas Day: Wednesday, Dec. 25
New Years Eve 2019: Tuesday, Dec. 31
New Year’s Day 2020: Wednesday, Jan. 1

Special Closings: 

Saturday, August 31: Downtown Library closed for Grand Prix cart races. Branches remain open.

Rock Island Public Library Full of Fall Fun!
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.
Rock Island Public Library Full of Fall Fun!

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