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News & Events

Genealogy News: Burke's Funeral Home Records

BurkesDeath certificates and burial records are just two of the many vital records we use while compiling our family histories. Sometime it can be a difficult process to locate them and then obtain a copy from the right source at a reasonable fee. The information contained in mortuary death records is often unobtainable anywhere else. 

A while back, the Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library was given numerous boxes of death and burial records (including copies of death certificates) for hundreds of people who had been buried by Burke’s Funeral Home in Alton, Illinois, between the years of 1956 and 1995. Unfortunately, we did not receive any records for 1961–1968. 

After many hours of hard work by staff and volunteers, these records have been organized and are ready for public use. A complete name index has been created and is now a part of our Illinois Room collection. This index can be used to quickly identify whether we have a file on a specific name. The book is titled Index of Burke’s Funeral Home Records, and the call number is IR 977.3865 IND.

If you find an ancestor’s name listed on the index, a staff member will retrieve the file for that name and copy any of the materials you need for your genealogy research. (Copy fees apply.) These donations of Burke’s Funeral Home records are only available at the Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library at the 401 State Street location.

Brand New Titles Each Week: Sign Up for Wowbrary!

Wowbrary 2Wowbrary is a service that sends you free weekly emails featuring The Hayner Public Library District’s most recent acquisitions. Check out all the wonderful new books, DVDs, and CDs the library acquires each week. To get your weekly notice about the newest books, movies, and music subscribe here

Problems with iOS App for Overdrive

iOS problemsOverDrive released v3.5.0 for iOS on Monday, February 1, 2016. Among other things, this updated version of the app resolved long-standing issues related to saving audiobook position and syncing. Unfortunately, it also introduced a new bug that prevented some users from opening or using the app after updating. On Friday, February 5, 2016, Overdrive released v3.5.1, which resolved the initial errors and allowed most users to open the app. However, Overdrive is now finding that some app users are encountering new problems.

Click here to view Overdrive's informational guide containing troubleshooting tips for the iOS app update. Please note that not all user issues are addressed; Overdrive is working to create a solution to all user problems. 

Add Your Library Card to Your Smartphone

Mobile Phone UpdatedYou can now add your library card to a smartphone app for added convenience when visiting the library. Simply add your card to the app of your choice and never forget your library card again! Not sure which app to use? For your convenience, The Hayner Public Library District is listed as a registered “store” with Key Ring (a store rewards card company). Click here to view instructions for adding your library card to the Key Ring app. 

Please note: Photos of library cards are not valid. Our 2D barcode scanners are not capable of reading photo images of barcodes; they are programmed to read digitized barcodes. Therefore, your library card must be added to an app in order for it to be used digitally at our Circulation Desks.

Key Ring app instructions

Volunteer Opportunity: Friends of the Library

Friends of Hayner Library BuildingThe Friends of the Library is a great organization of volunteers that supports the library through quarterly book sales, donating the funds to the library for special projects. Located at 327 State Street in Alton, they collect donations from the community as well as recycling books from the libraries’ shelves.

This great group of friendly people meets every Monday from 9:30 until 12 noon and is always looking for new volunteers. Even if you only have an hour or two, your help would certainly be welcome.
Opportunities for volunteer activities include accepting donations, sorting and putting books on shelves, maintaining the book carts in the libraries, and staffing the quarterly book sales.

A fun perk of volunteering for the Friends is that you get first choice of all the great materials they collect—a great benefit for book lovers!

The book sales are held the second weekend in October, February, May, and August. Everything is incredibly priced: paperbacks $.25, hardbacks $.50, all children’s materials $.25, and records and magazines $.10.

If you have materials contributions you would like to give to the Friends, you can drop them off at 327 State Street on Monday mornings, or just leave them at any Hayner Library circulation desk.
Please consider volunteering. For more information, you can contact the Friends at 618-462-4396.

Branching Out Is Back!

Branching Out TreeAfter the success of our Genealogy & Local History Library Branching Out classes in 2013–2015, we are happy to announce that Branching Out is back with a new two-part format, updated classes, and several completely new topics. Utilize time-honored research methods and innovative technologies to unravel the mysteries, support the stories, and piece together your family history. Each 90-minute class is offered on the second Thursday of the indicated month followed one week later by a collaborative follow-up session. Join us at the Genealogy & Local History Library for the whole series or just the topics of interest to you. Make sure to check the Special Events section of each newsletter for a reminder of what classes will be offered that quarter. We look forward to seeing you in class!

Please call 1-800-613-3163 to register for this program. 

All classes will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

January 14 & 21 Let’s Get Physical: Organizing the Stuff of Your Family History
February 11 & 18 Bridging the Digital Divide: Scanning, Software Programs, and Storage
March 10 & 17 Sharing and Collaborating on Social Media
April 14 & 21 the Forest and the Trees
May 12 & 19 Family Search: More Than the Census
June 9 & 16 Heritage Quest: Revolutionary War, Freedman’s Bank, PERSI
July 14 & 21 From the Courthouse to the Church: Using Official Records
August 11 & 18 All That’s Fit to Print and More: Newspaper Research
September 8 & 15 Where We’ve Lived: Researching Property
October 13 & 20 Uncovering Family Details Through Cemetery Research
November 10 & 17 Heroes in our History: Military Records
December 8 & 15 Making a Home in a New Land: Immigration, Naturalization, and Asylum

Don’t see a topic listed that you’d like to know more about? Tell us; we may be able to add it to next year’s schedule or create a research guide to assist you. Just getting started with genealogy and not sure if these classes are right for you? Call to schedule Branching Out Basics, a 60-minute tutorial on beginning genealogy research.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps-Not Your Typical Road Map

Sanborn Map CompanyIn 1867 Daniel Alfred Sanborn, a surveyor from Massachusetts, began creating a unique type of map of several United States cities. These maps were tools for helping insurance companies assess the potential risks of fire hazards for urban area buildings. This talented entrepreneur’s undertaking would soon become the mapping enterprise known as the Sanborn Map Company.

Today these richly detailed maps are a valuable resource for anyone interested in historical land or property research. They also are beneficial in preservation and restoration efforts. Widely used by architects, urban planners, and land developers, they can be an informative resource for anyone involved in researching individual properties, neighborhoods, or whole towns.

The maps provide an abundance of information such as building outline and size; construction materials used in the framing, flooring, and roof; the placement of windows, doors, and chimneys; street names; and house numbers. Also represented on the maps are details on the roadways such as street and sidewalk widths, boundaries, underground pipelines, wells, water mains, fire hydrants, and railroads. In short, the Sanborn Maps enable researchers to trace the architectural history of an individual building or the development of entire communities.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps (1867–1970) for the state of Illinois are available in digital format at the Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library at 401 State Street. Come browse this database collection of historical state maps and see what you can find out about your house or neighborhood. Digital images of the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps can be viewed and printed in just a few easy steps.

Free One-On-One Help: MedlinePlus

MedLinePlusWe can show you how to navigate credible medical and health resources online at Hayner Public Library. The National Institutes of Health offers MedLinePlus, a website that has access to past and current issues of NIH MedLinePlus Magazine. Search an alphabetical listing of many health topics, a Medical Encyclopedia, a section on Drugs, Herbs, and Supplements, and much more. We are now offering one-on-one appointments (1 hour) to help you navigate the MedlinePlus website. Call Sharon in Reference at 618-462-0677, Ext. 2845, to schedule an appointment.

Click here to learn how publc libraries have become powerful contributors to the health and vitality of the communities they serve. 

Text Message and E-mail Notifications for Holds and Overdues

Text Message for Holds and OverduesThe Hayner Public Library District is now offering text message and e-mail notifications for your requests and overdue notices.

Please ask at the Circulation Desk if you would like to receive a text message or e-mail message when your requested items are ready for pickup. The staff will be happy to assist you in making this change to your library account.

PLEASE NOTE: Text message and e-mail notifications are automated. These messages are NOT sent out in “real time.” The Illinois Heartland Library System software generates text messages and e-mails at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 6 p.m. daily. You will receive a separate text message for each item that is ready to be picked up or is overdue. If you sign up for text message or e-mail notifications, you will receive BOTH overdue notices AND pickup notifications this way. You will no longer receive a phone call from a staff member regarding your items ready to be picked up or overdue materials.

Note: E-mails and texts will be sent from SHARE Notifications and NOT from Hayner Library. SHARE is the automated network of libraries within the Illinois Heartland Library System.

As always, you can view your library account online at