The Peru Public Library has a number of collections highlighting the history and genealogy of the area.
Over the years, the library has gathered clippings and brochures concerning area churches, organizations, museums and people. This vertical file is accessible in the director’s office. This is the updated Vertical File Index.
We have the U.S. Census covering the La Salle County area from 1830-1930 on microfilm, excepting the 1890 Census which was destroyed by fire. The recently opened 1940 Census is available for free access from the National Archives at http://www.1940census.archives.gov/. The 1940 Census does not have a name index. But no fears, if you know where someone lived in 1940, you can search the 1940 Census enumeration district (ED) maps for an address and then locate the ED number for that address. The National Archives have uploaded the 1940 Census maps to their Archival Research Catalog (ARC) and plan to add them to the new Online Public Access system before April 2nd. To search the maps go to ARC at http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/
The library has the 1926 Sanborn map of Peru on microfilm. Sanborn maps were originally created to help fire insurance companies determine the risks associated with insuring properties. These large-scale maps were drawn at a scale of 50 feet to an inch.
Maud Powell was world-renowned violinist, born in Peru. She is the focus of an annual Peru celebration honoring the arts. The Maud Powell Society has additional information on her life and work.