The approach of Christmas and the New Year traditionally means a hectic time for travel agents and salespersons as travelers book flights to attend family gatherings across the country, and consumers descend on shopping centers in search of appropriate Christmas gifts for everyone on their respective lists. The season is also a particularly eventful time for libraries.

“People like to get into the spirit of whatever holiday season it is,” said Victoria Volckmann, Collection Development manager at the Pekin Public Library. “Christmas is longer than some of the other holiday seasons, because it lasts through the month of December. People have plenty of time to get down here to check something off, and they have more time off work to read or (to) watch movies.”

“Christmas is special for the Youth Services department here because it’s a lot of kids’ favorite holiday,” added Nona Buster, Youth Services librarian at the Pekin Public Library. 

Buster said the 2007 DreamWorks Animation Christmas special “Shrek the Halls,” is perhaps the library’s most popular holiday viewing fare for children. Also in great demand are classic holiday specials.

“Kids always like ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,’ and pretty much any animated version of ‘A Christmas Carol,’” she said. “‘Toy Story’ also gets checked out a lot. As far as books, children, especially the little ones, are always interesting in reading about whatever holiday’s coming up.”

The most popular holiday movies for adults, said Volckmann, include “Snow,” “Christmas Cottage,” “Christmas Shoes,” “Christmas Cottage” and “12 Men of Christmas.” The most sought-after books during the holiday season appear to be “Buffalo Valley” by Debbie Macomber, “Marry Me at Christmas” by Susan Mallery, “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham, and “Lost December” by Richard Paul Evans.

“Any book or DVD with ‘Christmas’ in the title gets checked out a lot this time of year,” said Volckmann. “A lot of our more popular authors do a Christmas book every couple of years, and of course, there’s a lot of demand for those books when they come out.”

During the rest of the year, Volckmann said, many library patrons check out the works of authors like James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark and John Sandford. Top viewing choices are a mix of action films like “Suicide Squad” and “Now You See Me 2,” comedies like “Hollars” and “Nine Lives,” and such dramas as “Sea of Trees” and “Imperium.” Animated features are frequently checked-out DVDs in Youth Services.

“There are lot of movies based on series of children’s books,” said Buster. “When a new ‘Harry Potter’ movie or a new ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ movie comes out, it generates interest in the books.”

The library staff pulls seasonal books and videos and puts them on display for ease of access in time for each holiday.

The Pekin Public Library is located at 301 S. 4th St. Hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.