Crack this music code with just one instrument: a computer

Administrator : September 1, 2017 11:30 am : Elkhart Public Library


Across eight weeks this fall, kids ages 8 to 11 will be making music at Elkhart Public Library. But this time, the only instrument will be a computer.

Starting at 4:30 p.m.  Thursday, Sept. 7, in the downtown library, kids taking part in Coding Music will begin learning how to use a computer to play musical notes, create video, and build an interactive music display. Coding Music also will show kids how computer programming is used to create songs.

<<<  Register now – space is limited  >>> 

Coding Music will take place every Thursday until the final afternoon on Oct. 26.

Kids will build eight complete projects while they learn vital computer science concepts and techniques. Registration is expected to ensure enough computers are available for everyone. Participants are encouraged to commit to all eight weeks, otherwise they won’t be able to get the full experience.

“We hope kids will be excited about this opportunity to learn about coding,” said Allison McLean, head of the library’s Young People’s Services, “while also having a lot of fun with music.”

In addition to learning coding and exploring computer science, students will be able to learn more about how technology is used in the music industry.

Those signing up do not need any prior computer experience.  

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Unlock the door to fantasy with the Osolo kids book club

Administrator : August 30, 2017 10:21 am : Elkhart Public Library

ob-170817-kids-bookclub-indian-slide-100The story of Omri and his imagination is on tap for this year’s kids book club at the Osolo location of Elkhart Public Library.

“The Indian in the Cupboard” by Lynne Reid Banks is this year’s chosen book for the club, open to kids 8 and up. Register here, as space is limited to 10. 

The first session kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, and continues for the following two Wednesdays.

Omri receives a plastic Indian brave from a friend. The boy is disappointed, so he locks the toy up in a metal cupboard, using a mysterious skeleton key from his great-grandmother. By turning the key, Omri transforms the toy into a real life man. 

You’ll have to read the book to find out the rest of the story.

<<  Register now – space is limited >>

Over the course of three weeks in September, kids will get the chance to read this book aloud and do activities. Kids who have registered will receive a copy of the book. Club members are encouraged to take a turn reading aloud, though they can choose to pass. Then, the group will do an activity – games or art – relating to the book’s themes.

“The program has been developed to enrich the reading skills of the children, work on vocabulary skills, and just plain have fun,” says Donna Mitschelen, the Osolo branch supervisor.

She hopes to see children gain confidence in reading aloud, practice reading, and improve their skills. Mitschelen also wants the kids to enjoy coming to library, and she hopes this program will encourage them to find other books.

Since the program is only three sessions, Sept. 13, 20, and 27, children participating will be asked to take the book home and read a certain number of pages before the next club gathering. They might also be asked to do a project or two at home to earn prizes.

In the past, those who have signed up for the Kids’ Book Club at the Osolo branch, which started in September 2012, have read books like “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney, “Holes” by Louis Sachar.


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Don’t plan on a disaster, but get prepared for one during National Preparedness Month in September

Administrator : August 29, 2017 3:17 pm : Elkhart Public Library

With the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey still prominently on everyone’s mind, now is the perfect time for National Preparedness Month, or September as it’s more commonly known.

This year’s theme focuses on having a plan for when the unthinkable happens because “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”

floodHaving a plan gives you the ability to respond to the challenges nature might throw at you quickly. Elkhart Public Library wants to make sure you have those plans in place.

This month, commit to research and read up on how to make an effective plan for your family and your business to respond in case of a natural disaster.

Books are a great place to start when you’re making a plan for how to respond to a disaster, and there are a number to choose from. To get you started, Elkhart Public Library’s research librarians can get you plugged into plenty of resources. The following is not an exhaustive list – instead, it’s just meant to get you started.


Are you Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
Agency: FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
This guide was prepared using the available information, including research on what actually happens during disasters, but it does not include all possible variables or outcomes. The main goal of this guide is to be used to help people create, practice and maintain emergency plans.


The Disaster Preparedness Handbook: A Guide for Families
Author: Arthur T. Bradley, PhD
The handbook will help you create a practical disaster plan for your entire family, and it covers the 14 basic human needs that need to be at the forefront of any plan. The content has been well researched by an army veteran and current NASA engineer and can serve as a good starting place in creating a survival plan.


Just in Case: How to be self-sufficient when the unexpected happens
Author: Kathy Harrison
In a disaster zone, people cannot rely on public services to take care of their families. This book will give tips to survive when disaster strikes: take inventory, pack an evacuation kit, rotate your food supply, stay in contact with your loved ones and more.


The Disaster Recovery Handbook
Authors: Michael Wallace and Lawrence Webber
When the unthinkable does happen, you need to know what to do next. Businesses and organizations will be disrupted by disasters, but they can be destroyed by those disasters if they aren’t prepared. This book offers strategies and practical guidance on how to come up with a recovery plan and how to implement it.


52 Prepper Projects: A project a week to help you prepare for the unpredictable
Author: David Nash
Through each project, this book will help teach you how to be self-reliant in the midst of a crisis. The projects will start at the very foundation of how to be prepared for disaster, and along the way, readers will gain more knowledge and become more self-reliant.


Having evacuation and recovery plans are essential for dealing with disasters, but the basis of those plans come from studying history. If we don’t understand the past, we are more likely to repeat it. Learning from past disasters is the only way to make future disasters more bearable and survivable by making ourselves more prepared, so here are a few titles to get you started.


The Unthinkable: Who survives when Disaster Strikes and Why
Author: Amanda Ripley
This book takes a closer look at various disasters from recent history, starting with the explosion of the Mont Blanc munitions ship in 1917 and ending with the journeys of the 15,000 people in the World Trade Center on 9/11. With the help of brain scientists, trauma psychologists, and other disaster experts, Ripley sets out to understand how human beings react to danger and what can be the difference between life and death.


Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home
Author: Joe Klein
When two war heroes returned home, they wanted to continue serving their country. They each founded organizations providing space for veterans to come together and give aid to people in the midst of disasters. The Mission Continues and Team Rubicon have been on scene after disasters like 9/11, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and Superstorm Sandy.


Shall we wake the President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office
Author: Tevi Troy
Whatever party leanings, Republican or Democrat, the person in the Oval Office needs to be able to have a handle on disasters affecting the nation. This book analyzes how recent history has seen an increasing number of disasters and how the nation looks to Washington leadership when disaster strikes. Troy focuses on the role of the president in response to tragedy, as well as how presidents in the past have responded.


Disaster! A History of Earthquakes, Floods, Plagues, and Other Catastrophes
Author: John Withington
While it may seem as if havoc is increasing, Withington wants people to rest assured these disasters have been happening since the beginning of time. This look at current fears through the lens of past horrors reveals natural disasters and manmade destruction are as old as time. Taking a closer look at the Black Death in the 1300s, the Nazi Holocaust, train crashes, shipwrecks and more, you’ll find that hurricanes, threat of nuclear war and terrorist attacks are nothing new.


Here in northern Indiana, the threat of disaster from severe weather is not unimaginable. Snow storms and icy weather can cause destruction during the winter months, possible tornadoes during the spring and summer, and the chance of flooding at any time.

For those who want to learn more about the municipal response plans in the event of disaster or want to sign up to be a volunteer, here are some local resources:

Elkhart Emergency Management Department
Elkhart County Health Department Emergency Preparedness
Elkhart County Emergency Management
Northern Indiana chapter of the Red Cross

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1,000 success stories – getting kids ready to read

Administrator : August 24, 2017 8:18 am : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

Reading books to children at an early age gives them a jump start on learning how to read. Studies indicate it’s positive preparation for school, too.

Children’s author Mem Fox once said, “If every parent and every adult caring for a child read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy within one generation.”

inside1000With “1,000 Books by Kindergarten,” Elkhart Public Library wants to do exactly that. The early literacy initiative, part of the library’s strategic plan, encourages parents and supports children to start reading as soon as possible.

“It sends a strong message to parents that reading is important and that it can start at any age,” says Allison McLean, who leads Young People’s Services at the downtown library. “Children are never too young to be read to.”

Parents who want to make sure their children are prepared to go to school should prioritize reading aloud.

“Reading together develops vocabulary and comprehension, nurtures a love for reading, and motivates children to want to learn to read,” McLean says. “Reading aloud to children is the best way to prepare them for school and for learning how to read.”

Three-year-old Graham Steffen is in the program, a continuation of what parents Laura and Wes already were committed to doing for their two boys.

“Graham’s always liked reading,” Laura Steffen says, “but just by reading to him, he’s able to retell stories, and he’ll often incorporate the stories into when he’s pretending.”

When she finds him reading on his own, Steffen is amazed to find that what he’s saying is often close to the actual book. Every day, she and her husband read one-on-one with each of the boys.

“Reading is just part of our daily routine,” she adds, “so it’s nice that we just get to spend time with them.”

Graham has about 300 books to go in the program. Laura Steffen already is looking beyond 1,000 books, as her boys take on new opportunities with reading.

“I’m always putting books on hold that I think they’ll enjoy,” she says. “I’m just looking forward to keep on reading together.”

In Elkhart Public Library’s “1,000” program, parents and children get incentives for every 100 books read. At the finish line, children completing the program will receive two books to take home.

“Children need books of their own to have easy access to reading, and we are glad this program is one way to get those into their homes,” McLean says. “We make a big deal of their accomplishments. … I love making reading a fun and positive experience for families.”

Nearly 150 children have started on their 1,000 books, and nearly one-third have completed the first 100. Families can sign up at any of the five Elkhart Public Library locations, and for record keeping, kids color in numbered train cars as they complete each book along the way.

“I hope to see more and more families participate and continue expanding the program,” McLean says, “by taking it to partnering organizations (such as Head Start and Triple-P Parenting) to reach families who might not be coming to the library right now.”

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Take off for the stars: Learn about the sun and moon

Administrator : August 22, 2017 2:57 pm : Elkhart Public Library

The solar eclipse of 2017 was the best show of the summer, but we’re not rolling the credits yet.

Elkhart Public Library and NASA are teaming up on out-of-this-world events to explore the sun and moon. It’s all part of the library’s 18-month work on STEAM-related educational programming.

nasamylibrary_edited2_0Space Lab: Sun
The eclipse offered a rare glimpse at the power of the sun – the heat it provides, the impact on nature, and much more. At Space Lab: Sun, kids 9-13 will have the chance to learn more in hands-on activities. Experiments will include the impact of ultraviolet light and use of an infrared thermometer.

All programs begin at 4:30. Dates are: Sept. 5 (Osolo); Sept. 14 (Pierre Moran); Sept. 19 (downtown); Nov. 7 (Cleveland); and Nov. 16 (Dunlap)


Family Moon Night
The moon is the Earth’s closest neighbor, and it has much more effect than you might think. The moon affects the sea and the tides, and every night, it reflects the sun’s light back to Earth. Have you ever noticed how, when there’s a full moon, it makes the night brighter?

At 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2, celebrate Family Moon Night downtown. The evening will include hands-on activities and education, and families will learn about International Observe the Moon Night later in the month.

ETHOS, our community partner, will be displaying moon rocks and a spacesuit. Kids in attendance will also receive a journal to write down their observations of the moon and stars leading up to Observe the Moon Night.


Space Lab: Moon
If you can’t get enough of our closest neighbor, explore the conditions of the moon, its weather, and its impact on Earth. Kids 9-13 at these labs also will experiment making videos with a green screen.

All programs begin at 4:30. Dates are: Oct. 3 (Osolo); Oct. 12 (Pierre Moran); Oct. 17 (downtown); Dec. 5 (Cleveland); and Dec. 14 (Dunlap).


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