Come build at EPL

Sam Householder : December 29, 2017 3:08 pm : Elkhart Public Library

Builders of all ages can come and test their skills and take the LEGO Challenge at EPL.

From 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, stop by the downtown library to build with LEGOs.

adobe-spark-3Come, bring your imagination and a friend if you’d like and create…whatever you can think of.

EPL has received a huge tub of LEGO from the Indiana State Library and will provide a different challenge for various age groups each day. Can you build the best treehouse? A rocket to go to Mars? A pirate ship?

LEGO are a great way to spend a frigid winter day and can help build an interest in engineering, design and art. Plus it’s a fun activity for people of all ages.


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Staff picks for best books of 2017

Sam Householder : December 21, 2017 4:03 pm : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

It should come as no surprise that staff at EPL love to read.

Reading is what the librarians and staff here are passionate about and it isn’t just books. Whether it’s an audiobook, a graphic novel or an ebook, the staff here loves to consume it.

As it is the last week of 2017, it seemed like a good time to look back at this year and find out which titles stuck with our staff the most over the year? Which were the books that caused them to laugh, to cry, to think or to be inspired?

We asked an assortment of EPL staff for their picks and these are their responses.

fave-books-01Ambar Alvarez, EPL Clerk

My pick is actually a graphic novel, “Sombra” by Justin Jordan and Raul Trevino. It’s about the drug war in Mexico, it’s a very contemporary, it’s one of those topics that’s out there. In the story, a DEA agent must track down her father after he went rogue from the DEA and formed his own gang to take on the cartels.

The message is very powerful and it’s something that is visual and can be read quickly. That’s what I love about graphic novels, even if you just skim it you can get the message.

People think that graphic novels are just about superheroes but they aren’t, they focus on many contemporary issues that we’re facing.

Kevin Kilmer, Assistant Director of Branch & Extension Services


This year I have enjoyed “The Sorrowful Mysteries of Brothers Athelstan” by P. C. Doherty. These mysteries are set in medieval England in the early 1300’s. It is an older series with the first book, The Nightingale Gallery, being written in 1991. Mr. Doherty does a wonderful job of balancing the story with action, mystery, humor and a genuine portrayal of life in the 14th century. I particularly enjoy the books because of the interplay between the two main characters as well as the political intrigue their social positions bring with them. To be fair, the first book is not as strong as the rest of the series. However it is worth the read if only to move on to the rest of the series.


fave-books-03Earl Brenneman, Reference Librarian


“Total Chaos: The Story of the Stooges” as told by Iggy Pop to Jeff Gold. Having played in Michigan rock bands back in the 80’s, I  appreciated Iggy Pop’s account of his days with his band, the Stooges.  The Stooges were a big inspiration for many Michigan musicians.  We looked upon Iggy Pop as a “role model.”  The Stooges were a cult band who were popular internationally.  There were many wild and crazy tales about the band.  This book confirms that the wild and crazy tales were true!  An interesting look at a fascinating time in Michigan, as well as American, musical history.


fave-books-04Amy Pfifferling-Irons, Reference Librarian

My pick is “Paper Girls” Series books 1, 2 & 3 by Brian Vaughan. This series reminded me a lot of the girl version of the TV show “Stranger Things.” It is a coming-of-age story through time travel. I loved the bond between the group of girls as they traveled to the future and past and met their future selves. They saw how the breakdown of their familiar 1980s stores gave way to Apple products which were completely foreign to them albeit necessary for them to navigate their excursions. The best part of this book, in my opinion, is these girls (and all the women in the series) are tough, kick-butt women. They come up against misogynistic men and actual monsters and through their ingenuity, strength and comradeship, they defeat whatever is in their path. And instead of tearing each other down, these girls have each other’s backs at all times. It is such a great series to empower young women and super fun to read!

fave-books-05Katrina Maust, Reference Librarian

“Favorite” is such a confining term. Per usual, I have a couple of favorites – don’t ask me to choose just one because I will always say “It depends” and then proceed to give you a list!

First, I’m currently engrossed in the book “The Power” by Naomi Alderman. In the world Alderman builds, first teenage girls and then all women gain an incredible new power which subverts the power dynamic. Sometimes books with this vein feel a little preachy but this one is at turns both empowering and terrifying. How does power affect human nature? Part science fiction, part dystopian, part all-the-things!

Next, for the nonfiction readers, it is a tossup between Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal” and Brene Brown’s newest “Braving the Wilderness.” Both of these books were wonderful not only to read and think about but also because they sparked interesting and necessary conversations with family and friends. With “Being Mortal” one contemplates end of life and what we truly want – what are your limits, what are your choices, how would you like to spend those years – have you talked to your family about it? And then, I just love Brene Brown but this book is ever so timely. In our current political and social climate, Brown asks us to contemplate who we are, what true belonging means and how we can cultivate that in our communities and culture. “True belong doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.”

And my last book on the list, “Adulthood is a Myth” by Sarah Andersen (of the “Sarah’s Scribbles” fame) is here because last year I took it to family Christmas for my sister and because we were giggling so much everyone in my family eventually picked up and got sucked in… then we would find them laughing to themselves. It is by turns both poignant and hilarious and it is on Hoopla so you can get it right away. You’re welcome. Also Andersen has a follow up that JUST CAME OUT AND I’M FIRST IN LINE AND I’M SO EXCITED called “Big Mushy Happy Lump.” But I’m nice, so I’ll share – you can put it on hold here but I also got you a holida`y present, it is also on Hoopla. You’re welcome. Again.

fave-books-06Celine Maciejewski, Reference Librarian

The “MaddAddam Trilogy” by Margaret Atwood was hard to put this one down, I mean turn it off since it was an audiobook. My goal this year was to finish the Margaret Atwood trilogy, MaddAddam. I’m proud to say, mission accomplished. I’ll let you in on a secret if you promise not to tell anyone. I’ve always been a poor reader. I have trouble remembering what I’ve read and I’m a slow reader. And yes, I’m a librarian so it’s a deep, dark secret. But I want you to spread the word that there’s no shame in this struggle. Who better than someone like me to encourage other reluctant readers. Try listening to a book, if that works for you.

But back to MaddAddam. The trilogy begins with Oryx and Crake, revealing a society altered by a man-made catastrophic event. Second in the series is The Year of the Flood. And finally, MaddAddam. The disastrous story is told by a different lead character in each novel, so you get a different perspective with each. Part love story, part social commentary, part mystery…I loved it.  I cried at the end.



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Free downloads and streaming media for all your devices

Administrator : December 20, 2017 10:38 am : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

img_1900Save some dough after the holidays and fill up that new device with free movies, music and books.

Elkhart Public Library offers all sorts of streaming services for entertainment – perfect to get you through long holiday weekends.

(Speaking of which, all five library locations will be closed Dec. 30-Jan. 1 as we observe the New Year’s holiday.)

Access our streaming services:

RBdigital for magazines (formerly Zinio) with no waiting and no limits, and also books and audiobooks. (Read even more about this recently expanded service.)

Hoopla for lots of everything – books to TV shows

OverDrive (also accessible through Libby) for even more popular books and audiobooks


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Marvel super heroes now available on your devices

Sam Householder : December 12, 2017 11:50 am : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

Spiderman, Black Panther X-Men, the Avengers and more are all available at your fingertips thanks to Hoopla’s recent addition of Marvel graphic novels to their online collection.


Hoopla has added nearly 70 Marvel titles, from Star Wars to Deadpool and the Guardians of the Galaxy and they are all available for free with your EPL card for download on any device.

Just download the Hoopla app and start surfing titles.

Hoopla features their “Action View” reader that allows for a whole page or an individual panel of a comic or graphic novel to be brought up, allowing for easy reading and viewing.

The app also features DC Comics titles and many other comics and graphic novels, making Hoopla the must-have app for comic fans everywhere.

Check out Hoopla’s selection here.



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Book and drink pairings for the cold season

Sam Householder : December 11, 2017 2:06 pm : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

We asked a few of our librarians what books they’re reading and what warming beverage they are pairing them with.

As lake effect snow falls around the area and the cold weather settles in, it’s a great time of the year to curl up inside with a good book and a warm drink.

What is our staff pairing?

Classic cocoa and a play


“Three Tall Women” by Edward Albee is the play I’m reading right now. It is currently on Broadway starring Allison Pill, Glenda Jackson and Laurie Metcalf. I am pairing this with a peppermint hot chocolate, whipped cream and sprinkles. I have fond memories of going to Broadway shows in the middle of winter with the snow blustering as my friends and I briskly walk to the theatre and then pop into a café after for one of these yummy treats.

-Amy Pfifferling-Irons, reference librarian









Two books is her cup of tea


I’ve got two exciting books going simultaneously: “The Power” by Naomi Alderman and “The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye” by David Lagercrantz. I like to have one book I’m listening to and one I’m reading at all times. I might be getting the plot lines mixed up in my head a little with these two. Strong women characters, traumatic childhoods, hackers, justice and thrills: Check! I think a calming drink is in order. I like to have a mug of hot tea with a cozy blanket and preferably a Christmas tree to sit next to. Earl Grey with honey and cream and Raspberry Zinger are my favorites.

-Vonda Litwiller, reference librarian







Japanese book and drink


Hot sake with Yoko Ogawa’s “The Housekeeper and the Professor.” Unlike her other titles, this is just a sweet, cozy story about a talented math professor who, unfortunately due to an accident, can only remember the past 80 minutes. His sister hires him a housekeeper and every day is new, which definitely presents challenges for all involved. The housekeeper also has a young son, who the professor instantly takes to. They bond over baseball and the professor shows him the beauty of numbers.

This book is great for a snowy day. Every day is new, much like how the snow creates a fresh canvas. The math bits are just this side of complicated; to keep your brain engaged. And the baseball bits make you think of spring. Also, the book is short, so you won’t over indulge on sake.

-Marianne Kruppa, librarian






A hot toddy is the holiday spirit


With the snow, I always think of the hearty Scandanavians who brought us delightful words like Hygge and Kalsarikännit so my first recommendation is to pair either “Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaimen or, for those who like a little more youthful adventure, Rick Riodan’s newer “Magnus Chase” series with a hot cup of Glogg (basically mulled wine) for authenticity’s sake.

That is what I would like to tell you but really, I’ll be reading “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie and, like the title character, be drinking my tisane a la Katrina (tea with a tipple of whiskey aka a hot toddy). Actually, who am I kidding, I’ll keep the hot toddy but be curling up with a Christmas romance. All the bells, music, and rosy cheeks, oh my.

-Katrina Maust

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