GPL Blog

Calling all Librarians: Slow Cooker Showdown

Library staff warmed up their colleagues with crockpot recipes this November at our staff Slow Cooker Showdown. Four indulgent recipes were offered up for tasting and voting by the library staff:  Crock pot hot chocolateChicken and dumplingsMexican lime soup with shredded chicken, and Curried butternut squash soup (vegan). It was a close call, but Mexican lime soup, created by children’s librarian LeAnna, won the coveted traveling trophy. It was a SOUP-er good day!

RECIPE: Mexican Lime Soup with Shredded Chicken


1 yellow onion
3 ribs celery (about 1/4 bunch)
1 jalapeño
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3/4 lb.)
6 cups chicken broth
2 10oz. cans diced tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel)
1 tsp oregano
1/2 Tbsp cumin
1 lime
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 avocado
cayenne pepper to taste


Dice the onion, celery, and jalapeño (scrape the seeds out of the jalapeño before dicing). Mince the garlic. Add the onion, celery, jalapeño, garlic, and olive oil to a large soup pot and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the chicken breast, chicken broth, diced tomatoes with chiles (with juices), oregano, and cumin to the pot. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and bring the broth up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the pot simmer for 45 minutes.
After simmering for 45 minutes, carefully remove the chicken breast from the pot and use two forks to shred the meat. Return the shredded meat to the pot. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the soup (2-3 Tbsp juice).
Rinse the cilantro and then roughly chop the leaves. Add the chopped cilantro to the soup, give it a quick stir, then serve. Slice the avocado and add a few slices to each bowl.

Calling All Librarians: Staff “Par-tea” Day!

The library’s staff enrichment committee (also known as the Party Planning Committee) invited staff to a “low tea” party in early June. Treats included hot and iced tea, savory and sweet tea sandwiches, and “digestive biscuits” (a.k.a. cookies). Staff members lent silver serving platters and utilized the library’s collection of tea cups. Enjoy the recipes for cucumber sandwiches with a spot of tea!

Cucumber Sandwiches


1 (8oz) block of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 package Italian dressing mix
1 mini loaf of pumpernickel or rye bread
1 English cucumber, sliced
Handful of fresh dill


  1. Place the softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, and Italian dressing mix in a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer on medium until combined and the mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. Spread approximately 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture onto each piece of mini rye bread.
  3. Top each piece with a cucumber slice, and then garnish with a sprig of fresh dill.

Calling All Librarians: Puzzle & Game Swap Event

Inspired by the Renegade Reference of West Central Illinois networking group, the library hosted a puzzle and game swap in May. The community (including the activity directors of local retirement facilities, game shop owners, and even a local puzzle company) was invited to donate games and puzzles in good condition ahead of the event in exchange for swap tickets. Ticket holders enjoyed priority “admission” to the swap, with day-of swappers welcomed during the second hour. Serious swappers arrived early, beelining directly to the table with their item of choice – 1000 piece puzzles were especially popular – and 89 items were swapped within the first 15 minutes! This event could not have succeeded without the contributions of the community, so thank you!

Pi(e) Day!

On March 14, library staff enjoyed a pie bake off to celebrate Pi Day.  Pi Day, a celebration of the mathematical constant π, is observed on March 14 since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π.

Four tasty pies were presented and circulation services assistant, Kaitlin, prevailed as winner with her blackberry pie! Upon winning the coveted traveling cooking contest trophy, Kaitlin explained that she’s learning the family tradition of pie making – her grandmother baked two pies a day while working the family farm, feeding all the farm hands at lunch! Enjoy the pie recipes below.

Marilyn Batali’s Blackberry Pie

baked by Kaitlin Hutchcroft *winner*

Opa’s Apple Pie 

baked by Lila Johnson
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cooking oil, preferably olive oilMix together and add:
1/2 – 3/4 cup of water (this is the tricky part, start with 1/2 cup then add sparingly until dough can be rolled; not too sticky to roll but not so dry that it won’t stay together. This will vary based on humidity and the quality of the flour).

Divide the dough. You will use a little more than half to line a 9″ pie pan. Roll it out (easier to do between 2 sheets of waxed paper), then line the pan.  Cut off excess, but leave enough on the edges to crimp. Add leftovers to the remainder of the dough and roll out for the top of the pie.

5 cup peeled and sliced tart apple (I used granny smiths, approximately 6 small apples)
1 cup of sugar
1 tbsp of cinnamon

Mix together and put into the bottom crust. Dot with butter.
Top with crust, crimp edges, then slice a couple of vent holes. Sprinkle the top with a little sugar.
Bake at 425 degrees fahrenheit or until golden brown.
Enjoy! We recommend either serving with vanilla ice cream or a slice of sharp cheddar.

Chocolate Cream Pie 

baked by Meghan
from the cookbook Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook: 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America’s Most Trusted Cooking Magazine – available through interlibrary loan

Chocolate Pie

baked by Jane Easterly
1. Bake a pie crust.
2. Make a box of pudding (the kind you cook) following the directions on the package.
3. Pour the pudding in the pie crust.
4. Serve with whipped cream or whipped topping.

Calling All Librarians — Stateville Calling Program

Here at Galesburg Public Library, we host hundreds of programs every year. Some are huge success stories — Summer Reading, Ghosts of Galesburg, Gingerbread House Decorating — while others are… less so. We’re here to share our wins and our losses and help inspire other librarians along the way.

On February 4, the library, along with the Illinois Prison Project, screened the documentary Stateville Calling for Black History Month. After the movie, ambassadors from IPP answered questions.

The film, described as “an Emmy-nominated documentary exploring parole reform and the struggle of aging inmates in Illinois,” was presented virtually. Because the program was virtual, there was no cost to the library.

Twenty-four people attended the event, which we consider very successful.

Assistant Director and Head of Adult Services Jane Easterly had this to say about the program:

“The event was very powerful… All of the ambassadors have been in Illinois prisons. I was encouraged to find people with prison experience to attend, which I did, but it was not actually necessary. Just hearing from the people connected to the Illinois Prison Project was powerful in itself. (And I had people who’d worked at [the local correctional center] and who’d been imprisoned show up on their own.) I literally had to shoo people out of the room as the library prepared to close. The event really got people talking.”

If you have any questions, you can contact us at If you would like to host the program at your library, contact

If you have questions about GPL’s programming, or would like to suggest a program,  contact us at or call 309-343-6118 #6 to get more information. 

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