Library is the place for reliable Ebola information

When calamities like the Ebola outbreak occur, misinformation in the form of rumor, lies, propaganda and other untruths comes at us from every direction. Residents of Zion, Winthrop Harbor and Beach Park, however, can get reliable, factual and verified information on Ebola and other infectious diseases in person, online or over the phone from reference librarians at the ZB Library Adult Services reference desk.

These reference professionals can access and share research from peer-reviewed and scholarly sources of factual information, including biomedical journal articles from the National Library of Medicine and several National Institute of Health websites.

In addition to articles and print resources, reference librarians can provide cardholders with illustrations, infographics, timelines and maps when outbreaks occur.

There are even a few sites that are only accessible to libraries that provide up-to-the-minute breaking news and other vital information. These sites allow the local library to share information with first-responders.

With infectious disease outbreaks like this one, the ZB Library can provide information on several aspects, including:

  • basic science and sequencing of outbreak events
  • public health practices
  • clinical care and infection control
  • availability of health care
  • implications for well-being
  • long-term effects
  • social stigmas

In addition to providing reference information, the ZB Library’s online resources collection includes MedlinePlus, available online to cardholders. MedlinePlus is a National Institute of Health site offering trusted, comprehensive information on everything related to health, wellness and medicine.

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Online library offers access, resources that enhances community

Books and beyond. In three words, this outlines the mission of the modern public library. We’re still about books, but we also provide essential services and relevant resources that go beyond books into the infinite universe of the worldwide Web.

In addition to traditional print and audiovisual collections, the ZB Library offers a new generation of resources in digital format – databases, archives, life-skills education, media, virtual reference libraries and many other technologies – as well as bridging the digital divide by providing computer and Internet access.

Through the digital medium, the ZB Library provides help, assistance, verified information and educational opportunities from the deep Web that can change lives in a positive way. The extensive array of the library’s resources provides something for every resident in the community:

  • Digital resources ranging from reference sources, ebooks and audiobooks, music, videos, career training and certification, literacy and academic skill building, adult learning, genealogy and health, accessible at no charge to cardholders through the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year;
  • A community meeting place, with rooms available at no charge for both large and small nonprofit groups;
  • A bridge across the digital divide, with public desktop computers, hard-wire and wi-fi Internet access, laptops, a full suite of document software, e-reader collection and instruction and reference information on navigating the digital world.

In addition to enhancing every resident’s quality of life, the ZB Library is an economic development engine for the Zion and Benton township communities. Studies show that dollars spent on libraries provide solid economic returns to the community.

More jobs, enhanced property values, better schools, increased wages – the public library plays a role in all of it, and the taxpayers of Beach Park, Winthrop Harbor and Zion are better off for it.

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Rattlesnake attack in the strawberry patch kills CCC deacon

From time to time, the ZB Library gets requests for information from far-flung points hither and yon that only we can answer. This is because in addition to an extensive global genealogy collection, we have a museum-like “Special Reference” archive of literally irreplaceable items, such as:

  • city directories and phone directories going back to turn of 20th century,
  • history collections of Zion and Winthrop Harbor compiled by local residents
  • collection of books written by John Alexander Dowie, founder of Zion and the Christian Catholic Church (Dowie was a world-famous faith healer who even is mentioned in James Joyce’s Ulysses),
  • original edition of the church’s doctrinal archive, Leaves of Healing,
  • yearbooks for most years at Zion-Benton Township High School (we’re looking for some years in the 1950s and ’60s)
  • Lake County history collection
  • numerous other one-of-a-kind items and reference resources related to Benton and Zion townships.

The latest inquiry came from a caller in Dearborn, Mich., who is researching rattlesnakes and found a 1910 news article about a man bitten by a rattler in Zion City who died June 14 from the bite as the result of refusing medical treatment and instead relying on faith healing through prayer.

The caller from Dearborn said Oliver Pugh, one of Dowie’s first converts and a CCC deacon, was bitten while gardening, presumably at his residence, so the caller wanted to know Pugh’s address, which according to a 1909 phone directory was on the 2800 block of Enoch Avenue.

Other news articles, some as far away as Spokane, Wash., reported Pugh was picking strawberries when the rattlesnake bit him.

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Start at the ZB Library, go anywhere with this card

Your library card is a passport to a universe of knowledge. The ZB Library open to everyone, but only cardholders can take items from the collections out the door and access online resources. It offers access to computers, laptops and all the print and digital media at this library, a lending consortium of public libraries throughout northern Illinois and hundreds of public libraries across the country.

Cardholders of other Illinois public libraries can access the collections and public computers at the ZB Library by registering their card at the Circulation Desk. Likewise your ZB Library card can be used at any other state public library.

To get this special passport you provide two forms of identification, one with your photo to prove your identity, and one with your current address to prove your residency in the library district. Acceptable photo IDs are: driver’s license, school ID, passport, welfare ID card and state ID. For proof of address: latest tax bill, vehicle registration, paycheck within the past month, personal check, a piece of recent official mail like bank statements or utility bills or housing documents. A signed statement by the head of a household confirming a person’s residence is also acceptable.

After providing the necessary ID in person, adult applicants need to provide basic contact information and a birthdate. ZB Library cards expire after three years. To renew your card you must present photo ID with the current address.

Visitors and patients at the hospital can get special 30-day cards. Local students can get a library card through their school library. The school passes along their contact information to the ZB library, which sends the cards to students. Teachers in local schools can get cards good for the school year.

ZB Library cardholders have access to the library’s online informational resources and reference databases. To get in, you’ll need your passport.

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ZB Library named affiliate of renowned Family History Library

Stored inside a mountain in northern Utah are billions and billions of genealogical records of billions of people worldwide.

The Family History Library is so big that only a fraction of those Mormon Church records, curated by the FamilySearch organization, has been put on microfilm, but that’s more than 1.2 billion birth, death, marriage, census, land and court records of genealogical significance collected from 130 countries.

Although available to the public, this collection could only be accessed by traveling to Salt Lake City or visiting a few widely-scattered FamilySearch offices. Recently, however, Family Search has extended access by selecting public library affiliates.

Even more recently, partly because of its quality genealogy collection, the Zion-Benton Public Library was selected as one of these affiliates. As an affiliate, when a request is submitted, the library is sent microfilm of selected records and allows the requestor to use its microfilm reader to view the record at the library. The reader can also make photocopies of the microfilm.

“Less than 5 percent of the world’s genealogical records are online,” said Paul Nauta of FamilySearch, “and most family history researchers cannot afford to travel to an archive to find historic records they are seeking.” For researchers in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, they only need to travel as far as the ZB Library, he said.

Anyone who lives in the area can receive records at the ZB Library through, which charges a nominal fee of $7.50 to loan the microfilm for 90 days at the affiliate. A library card is not required. The only requirement is an e-mail address and Internet access to search the Family History Library catalog at

ZB Library cardholders also have free access to through its online resources collection, and can compile more complete records using the two genealogy sites.

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