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“Crossroads: Change in Rural America”

Marshall Public Library will be hosting traveling Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” March 25th through May 4th with a special public preview Sunday, March 24th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Folklore singer Chris Vallillo will be begin singing at 2:00 p.m. with light refreshments. Those in attendance will enjoy touring the newly renovated library while exploring nationally acclaimed exhibit depicting changes in rural America over the past 100 years. Local exhibits will also be on display depicting “Cork: Change in Rural Medical Care” and “Agriculture: Change in Rural Farms”.


The Crossroads tour will kick off with a special program Thursday, March 28th at 6:30 p.m. with local physician James Turner presenting: “From the plains of Clark County to the Nuba Mountains of Sudan” Dr. Turner will tell the story of how Dr. George Mitchell’s medical philosophies are being used by and Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and Aurora prize winner Dr. Tom Catena in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan.


Weekly programs will be held each Thursday during the exhibit:


Thursday, April 4th at 6:30 PM

IL Humanities Road Scholar Brian Fox Ellis presents:

“John Deere: History and Future”

As John Deere, historian and author, Brian “Fox” Ellis, covers a hundred years of agricultural history and then leads a discussion on the future of farming. Raising issues like the pros and cons of agriculture versus agribusiness, the role of technology and mechanization, the small family farm, centennial farms, and community service agriculture, this program promises to engage the audience in a complex conversation on how we continue to feed the world.


Thursday, April 11th at 6:30 PM

University of Illinois Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness Mary Liz Wright presents:

“From Red Flannel Hash to Roasted Brussel Sprouts; How Food Has Changed in the Last 100 Years”

This program will highlight food trends, the globalization of food and changes in food safety practices over the last 100 years.



Thursday, April 18th at 6:30 PM

University of Illinois Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture Jessie Soule presents:

“Changing Face of Midwest Families”

The Midwest over the past 100 years has experienced significant changes in farm households and farm structures, spurred by ever-changing technological and sociopolitical factors. Educator, Jesse Soule will take a closer at some of these factors in an effort to better understand how farm families have evolved, and how rural America will continue to evolve.



Thursday, April 25th at 6:30 PM

Author and Historian Tim Crumrin presents:

“Roads Not Taken: How Interstates and Highways Changed Rural America”

The locating of a highway could make or break rural communities, lead to their rise or decline. This presentation will look at how two highways, the National Road and Interstate 70, effected the fortunes of two small towns, West Terre Haute, Indiana and Marshall, Illinois. Tim Crumrin is an award-winner historian and author who has published over fifty articles and books.; He grew up in both Marshall and West Terre Haute.



Thursday, May 2nd at 6:30 PM

Movie @ the Library detailing Dr. Tom Catena’s documentary:

“One Heart. One Doctor. One Million People: The Heart of Nuba”

In the war-torn Nuba Mountains of Sudan, American doctor Tom Catena selflessly and courageously serves the needs of a forgotten people, while the region is bombed relentlessly by an indicted war criminal, Omar Al-Bashir. Two things remain constant: Dr. Tom's faith and his enduring love for the Nuba people.


To register for any one of these free programs please call the library at 217-826-2535 or use the online forms linked to each program title.


Additional resources including interviews and photographs related to the local agriculture and medical exhibits are available here.

Further reading regarding rural life, farming, and medical care are avaible through our online database, GVRL.  (password is remote)


Mental Health First Aid Training

Marshall Public Library will be offering a free Youth Mental Health First Aid certification on Saturday, April 6th from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the library’s Dale McConchie meeting room.  A light lunch will be provided. This 8-hour session will be led by local Clark County deputy and certified Mental Health Trainer Derrick Sanders. The session will help prepare participants to respond to a mental illness and/or substance abuse disorder by recognizing signs and symptoms of adolescent mental or substance abuse illnesses.  Registration for this free certification is required by April 1st.  Seating is limited.


To register for this free program please call the library at 217-826-2535 or use the online form.



A History of Clark County, Celebrating 200 Years


Clark County Historical Society invites the public to join them for a program in the library's Dale McConchie Meeting Room on Thursday, February 28th at 6:30 pm. A paneled discussion by Historical Society members will include Clark County's formation in 1819, at which time included nearly 1/3 of the state of Illinois! Facts about Clark County's history and establishment, including early settlements will be highlighted. Please call the library or use the online form to register for this free program.


Therapy Dogs are Big Heroes @ Marshall Public Library


Local residents Mike and Phyllis Pence have anything but ordinary pets. Their pets’ open doors of kindness and understanding for children in the Marshall community by offering meaningful early literacy interactions at Marshall Public Library. Ernest T. and Clyde are both Golden Retrievers certified thru Alliance of Therapy Dogs and offer one-on-one support to children and their families who struggle with emotional and/or physical conditions. Monthly at the Library these dogs visit, console, and engage families in need with book readings and therapeutic interactions. Eight-year-old Earnest T, who was rescued at just 4 ½ months, has been serving as a therapy dog at the library for nearly 8 years. Clyde, who turns 6 in April, has been certified for 4 years and was also discovered thru the Rescue Me Clifford group. He was rescued from a puppy mill when he was just shy of 2 years old.

Despite their turbulent beginnings, these dogs have managed to provide natural empathy for a variety of children in need within the Marshall community. Perhaps it is because of their difficult beginnings, these two dogs have been able to provide empathetic interactions to children who have endured stressful and/or traumatic situations.

Recently, the Pence’s acquired miniature ponies Raven and Lady who are not certified therapy ponies, but are working on getting their certifications soon. They too were both rescued and came from a mini rescue farm in Sesser, Illinois. Raven is a 15-year-old 30 ½” appaloosa and Lady is a 22-year-old 33 ½” pinto palomino.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a severe mental or physical condition and wish to utilize this free, once-a-month program, please call the library at 217-826-2535 and ask for the Director.


Traveling Gravemarker talks unusual gravestones

Michael McNerney of Carbondale had no idea what a strange journey was beginning years ago when he and friend Herb Meyer found an unusual tombstone in a Pope County cemetery. Curiosity about people, their migrations and their artifacts came naturally to the archaeologist and he began what would be a several year journey to hundreds of marked graves in the United States.

 McNerney’s book "A Shape in Time and Space: Tracking the Necked Discoid Grave Marker," describes the types of grave stones, their distribution and how often it was family and personal preference, not religious considerations, that determined the style of headstones.

 Author Michael McNerny will share his journey to marking gravestones and how it led him to the Livingston Cemetery at Marshall Public Library on Thursday, March 8th at 6:30 PM.

 For more information or to register for the program at Marshall Public Library, please call 217-826-2535 or use the online form.

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