The Friends of Elkhart Public Library provide more than just financial support for the library, they are a network of volunteers and donors committed to making it better for the community.
According to Friends of EPL president Ken Clayborn, the group is seven years old and boasts around 140 members and they provide tremendous assistance to the library system in the city.
“The Friends raise money for grants that the library can use to buy things that are not in their budget,” Clayborn said.
Many of the items that the Friends purchase are items used as giveaways and prizes in various programs but they also provide equipment to library departments, such as a book binder for the technical services department to assist with book repairs, Clayborn said.
He said that the Friends do several fundraisers throughout the year, the biggest of which is the monthly book sales, as well as the ongoing book sale shelves at all EPL branches.
By the end of the year, Clayborn said that the Friends will have awarded $16,000 in grant money to the library and various programs.
Over the last two years they’ve purchased furniture, a LEGO table, a software, tablets, FitBits and community chess boards, according to Clayborn.
Members of the Friends said their service and commitment to the group came from their passion for libraries.
“I love libraries, I think they’re very important for the health of a community, not just the emotional and mental health but encouraging some of the things like we do with the FitBits, the walking, the people outside playing chess, some of those communal aspects of libraries can bring people together,” Clayborn said.
Friends member Gloria Taylor echoed that idea of community.
“I think it’s important for the city to have a public library and I want to do whatever I can to keep it going and make it better place for the community,” she said. “I think through things that the friends do, the community can see what’s available at the library.”
Clayborn said that the Friends are always looking for new members and that people can be as involved as the y want, simply paying dues, volunteeringor becoming an active board member.
“People don’t realize how many resources are available at the library and in a way being a Friend of the Library is a way of paying that back,” he said.
The Friends have a couple of fundraisers coming up.
Plans are underway on the Trees, Trees, Trees events, which will have decorated trees available for silent auction at the beginning of November at the downtown library, Clayborn said.
A trivia fundraiser is currently being planned for early 2018, he said. Book sales are the first Saturday of every month, with the next one scheduled for Nov. 4.
For more information on the Friends or to get a membership application click here.
ELKHART — A paranormal investigation team will share stories of chasing Sasquatch, Dogmen and other unexplained phenomenon during a special program for Halloween.
At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, members of the BSR Paranormal group, which has Elkhart and Fort Wayne chapters, will speak at the downtown location.
According to group founder Jennifer Jacobs, the group travels around the region exploring reports of hauntings and creatures such as Sasquatch, Mothman and Dogman, among others.
“We investigate all aspects of the paranormal,” she said. “We’re going to discuss the history of Halloween and we’ll go over our experiences and others’ experiences,” said Jacobs
She said she will share tales of time she was attacked by “something” at the Ohio State Reformatory Prison and stories from a ghost hunt at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium.
Following the presentation, the group will answer questions. She said patrons can expect to learn what happens at an investigation; how they do it and that it’s all right if they have a paranormal encounter of their own.
“They are not alone if they have experienced anything,” Jacobs said.
Barney the St. Bernard is coming back to be a reading partner for kids next week.
The trained dog, who helps kids gain confidence in their reading, returns for the October Paws to Read session from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 21 at Elkhart Public Library’s downtown location.
Parents can sign up their children for the 15-minute sessions by calling 574-522-2223.
<< Space is limited – call 574-522-2223 to get your child time with Barney >>
“The kids get to interact with something that loves unconditionally. He’s just a good listener – he absorbs every word and he doesn’t interrupt or correct or question them,” handler Renee Langdon says. “I’ve been blessed to be able to work with him and watch the children improve.”
Barney’s journey to become a therapy dog was difficult. Langdon rescued him eight years ago after he was abandoned near Wakarusa. He already was blind and had leg injuries consistent with abuse, she says.
“He had to learn to trust again,” Langdon says. “He couldn’t walk on a leash. You couldn’t put him in a car. The injuries to his front left leg weren’t anything that couldn’t be repaired, but it was a rough start.”
He eventually defeated his fears and became a good companion to Drew, Langdon’s first St. Bernard. Despite his blindness, Barney eventually passed the same exam required for certification as a registered Pet Partners therapy dog.
Pet-assistance therapy goes beyond guide dogs. They provide comfort at hospital entrances, Langdon says, and companionship at nursing homes. They have visited schools and libraries regularly, too.
Langdon has committed her volunteer time for years to working with children, particularly those challenged by autism or disability. She worked with Reins of Life for therapeutic horseback riding until, physically, she couldn’t meet the demands of mucking stalls and hauling hay bales.
She says she adopted a St. Bernard because she always wanted one growing up. During her first three years, Langdon volunteered several hours each week making visits. After Drew passed on and with Barney advancing in years, she’s had to scale back to schedule.
“I think this is best described as giving and receiving love. Barney takes it in and he dishes it out – it’s his job to love,” Langdon says.
Behind every app and computer program, there’s code. Code delivers the directions to a computer to complete complex tasks.
The good news: Coding is not hard.
Anyone can learn to code. We are teaching kids to code in our fall series, Coding Music. Even if your child’s future career does not involve computer programming, they will benefit from learning to code. It will give them a new way to think about the world that involves math, logic, and computational thinking.
Want to get your kids coding but aren’t able to attend the program? Or even if you want to learn a little for yourself, check out these books at the library today.
How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons
Author: Sean McManus
Following the 10 lessons in this book will have you creating video games using the programming language Scratch. Then, you can build your own website using HTML and CSS to share the game with the world.
Coding Games in Scratch
Author: John Woodcock
This book also teaches how to build games using Scratch, but with sample games and more detailed instructions. Readers are encouraged to hack and tweak the games into something uniquely their own.
Kids Get Coding series
Authors: Heather Lyons and Elizabeth Tweedale
Kids Get Coding is set of four books introducing code concepts to an even younger audience. These books use very simple language and offline activities to introduce the concepts behind computer programming. There are also links provided where you can go to learn more.
Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World
Author: Reshma Saujani
Girls are underrepresented in the tech field, so this author decided to do something about it. In 2010, she set out to teach girls to code and encourage them in a world that can be full of boys and men. The book is packed full of information about coding in a way that makes it feel like just a fun chat with a friend. Interspersed throughout are short biographies of women who are paving the way in companies such as Pixar and NASA.
For all K-12 students, Elkhart Public Library provides a space for after-school tutoring.
Starting Sept. 18, National Honor Society students from area high schools will be available to help any student with their homework, no matter the subject. Tutors are not unlimited, so it is a first come, first served basis.
Each location will host a night of Homework Help each week.
Monday – 4 to 6 p.m. at Cleveland*
Monday – 5 to 8 p.m. downtown
Tuesday – 4 to 7 p.m. at Dunlap and Pierre Moran
Thursday – 4 to 7 p.m. at Osolo
* – Cleveland schedule through December 2017
Students interested in coming to Homework Help should bring their assignments, as well as the materials and supplies needed to complete projects. They will get help from qualified and knowledgeable National Honor Society students, and they also get to create a bond with a good role model from the community.
“Homework Help has been an ongoing program at EPL for more than 15 years,” says Chuck Pieri, Branch Children’s Librarian, “and when it started, I think it was especially important since the schools didn’t offer a lot of after-school programming for the students.”
But things are different this time around, and Homework Help is more of a supplement to the programs offered at schools. Pieri is hopeful this program will serve students well.
“I hope that the kids get the help they need for their assignments, as well as new skills and strategies to tackle these subjects on their own in the future,” Pieri says. “I’m happy that we can collaborate with the schools and create a safe learning environment where young kids and their peers can work together.”
While students are here for Homework Help, they will also get the chance to check out more of Elkhart Public Library’s resources.
“I also hope that while they are here they take advantage of all we have to offer,” Pieri says, “like getting a free library card, checking out books, or accessing digital music, eBooks and much more.”
Homework Help runs through Memorial Day.