Jeanie B brings music, fun to EPL

Sam Householder : May 21, 2018 8:00 am : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

jb_pk_1For music teacher and performer Jeanie Bratschie, it’s all about sharing her love of music with children.

Bratschie, who performs under the name Jeanie B., will host two shows on June 6, at 4 p.m. at the Dunlap Branch and at 6 p.m. downtown.

Bratschie said she has been performing since she was 15 years old and became a children’s performer in 2003.

“I fell in love with the whole concept and the first time I performed for a class I said ‘this is it, this is the job for me,'” she said.

Bratschie said that the excitement and energy from her audiences is her favorite part of performing.

“I love the smiles on the kids faces and I love the pure joy that I elicit from children,” she said.

“I love the part of engaging children with music and teaching kids through music.”

She said she spends the school year teaching music in Evanston, Ill. as well as working at inner city Chicago schools to bring music education to schools without music programs. Bratschie said she is currently working inside of five schools.

During the summers she hits the road and performs at libraries and schools.

“My library show will often have songs about reading and interactive songs about books and reading,” Bratschie said.

“I try to entertain and educate while letting children have lots of fun and interact with the music.”

She said that she keeps her shows high-energy by making them as interactive as possible, with lots of movement and participation.

“It’s all interactive music, there’s very little sitting and listening to music, I like to keep kids moving,” she said.

Bratschie said that she has a new album out called “I Love Music.” For more information visit her website


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Explore robots from the state library

Sam Householder : May 21, 2018 7:59 am : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

robot-kit-finalGet hands on with robots during a special program at the downtown library.

At 5 p.m. on Monday, June 4, children will be able to build and play with an assortment of small robots from the Indiana State Library at the downtown EPL branch.

Robots including LEGO Wedo, Cubelets, Sphero Spark and more. Build and play with a variety of robots and learn about the great world of science and robotics.

The Indiana State Library loans out robot kits to libraries around the state, so this is a rare chance to get hands on with a variety of small robots in one setting.


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Barney set to retire after final Paws to Read

Administrator : May 16, 2018 5:06 pm : Elkhart Public Library

Barney the St. Bernard is riding off into the sunset and we’re having a party to celebrate him!

The trained dog, who helps kids gain confidence in their reading, is retiring and we’re hosting a retirement open house for all his friends and reading partners to come back and celebrate him.

From 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 19 at the downtown library, join us for treats and a chance to say good bye to Barney and maybe read him one last story.

mkt-171129-paws-screen-100There’s no need to register for a session this time, it is an open house event.

“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.


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Rock your reading from anywhere this summer

Sam Householder : May 16, 2018 5:04 pm : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

summerread2018_fb_504x504For those wanting to participate in summer reading but are traveling or just too busy to make it to a library branch for a book, there’s another way.

OverDrive, the ebook and audiobook provider, has some recommended books for young readers as part of their OverDrive Summer Read program beginning June 6. Access OverDrive through or by downloading their app and entering your library card information.

The books are available for free for library users using their library card or a student ecard. This way there’s nothing to return and plenty of great books to read.

< < Find out more about Summer Reading at EPL > >

According to OverDrive the books are a collection for juvenile readers, which skew younger and a collection for young adults. The books should appeal to boys and girls.

The juvenile collection includes a book about Spongebob Squarepants, a book from The Last Airbender universe, Modo, who appeared in the The Hunchback Assignments and more.

The young adult collection, for middle and high school readers, includes a book about a tree that reveals hidden truths, a book about a vanished mother, another about a mysterious camp and more.

Reading Rocks this summer and there are great prizes, such as Taylor Swift concert tickets or a Nintendo Switch up for grabs but reading is the only way to enter to win.

With OverDrive, that won’t be an issue, offering plenty of titles right at young fingertips so that a book is just a click away.



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Board Meeting Minutes 2018 04

Administrator : May 16, 2018 11:04 am : Elkhart Public Library


Members present: Renee’ Cocanower, Jennifer Nielsen, James W. Rieckhoff and Clarence W. Thomas. Mary E. Davis, Janice E. Dean and Carlos A. Esteves were unable to attend.

Others present: Jane A. Garoutte, Business Manager/Treasurer, and Lisa Guedea Carreño, Director.

Staff present: Allison McLean, Young People’s Services Department Head; Charles Pieri, Branch Young People’s Librarian; Rachel Rice, Extension Services Department Head; Gwen Robison, Assistant Director of Support Services; Mary Beth Schlabach, Assistant Director of Public Services and Paula Watson, Administrative Clerk.

Guest present: Michael Wagner


Regular Board of Trustees Meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m. by Renee’ Cocanower.


The consent agenda was presented. There being no objections, James W. Rieckhoff moved

THAT the Consent Agenda, including investment recommendations, be adopted.

Jennifer Nielsen seconded Motion: carried


Renee’ Cocanower, Vice President reported that Director’s Evaluation would be finalized soon. She also introduced our guest, Michael Wagner. He will be appointed by Concord School Board to fill Renee’s position when her term ends June 30, 2018.


Lisa Guedea Carreño, Director, presented her report. There were no questions or comments.

Department Report

Allison McLean, Young People’s Services Department Head, gave a presentation about the Summer Reading Program for this year. Allison presented the theme, several goals and her enthusiasm about this year’s program.


Job Description: Department Head-MLS-Circulation (revision)

Lisa Guedea Carreño, Director, presented revised Job Description for Department Head – MLS – Circulation. Jennifer Nielsen moved

THAT the Job Description for Department Head – MLS – Circulation be approved as presented.

Clarence W. Thomas seconded Motion: carried

Hoosier S.T.A.R.T. – Proposal/Resolution to Participate

Jane A. Garoutte, Business Manager, presented a Proposal/Resolution to participate in the Hoosier S.T.A.R.T. program. James W. Rieckhoff moved

THAT the proposal/resolution to participate in the Hoosier S.T.A.R.T. program be approved as presented.

Clarence W. Thomas seconded Motion: carried

Elkhart Public Library 457b Plan(Edward Jones/MG Trust)

Jane A. Garoutte, Business Manager, made a recommendation to phase out Elkhart Public Library 457b(Edward Jones/MG Trust). Jennifer Nielsen moved

THAT the proposed phase out of Elkhart Public Library 457b(Edward Jones/MG Trust) be approved as presented.

James W. Rieckhoff seconded Motion: carried

Cash Accounts – Resolution to Establish

Jane A. Garoutte, Business Manager, presented a resolution to establish cash accounts. James W. Rieckhoff moved

THAT the proposed resolution to establish cash accounts be approved as presented.

Clarence W. Thomas seconded Motion: carried

Questions and Information from Board, Staff, and Guests


The regular Board meeting was adjourned by Renee’ Cocanower at 6:25 p.m.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees will be May 15, 2018, at Cleveland Branch, 53715 County Road 1, Elkhart, IN.

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