What Floats Your Boat? EPL!

Administrator : August 26, 2013 3:43 pm : Elkhart Public Library

Friday’s What Floats Your (Cardboard) Boat Race was a boatload of fun!  The EPL FRIEND-SHIP–named for the Friends of the Elkhart Public Library, who provided our entry fee–came in third. Not bad for our first time out! This was the fourth year for the race, which is organized by the United Way of Elkhart County to kick off their annual fund-raising campaign.

 Click on the picture to see a Flickr slide show 

Wimpy (Erica) adds some final touches to the EPL FRIENDSHIP

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ARRRR…Talk Like a Pirate September 19!

Administrator : August 18, 2013 12:56 pm : Elkhart Public Library

PirateParrot-01Ahoy Mateys!

September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. This be th’ perfect time t’ talk about Mango Languages, one of th’ many Online Resources on th’ EPL website.  Pirate be one o’ Mango’s most popular courses. If ye set a course to any Elkhart Public Library location on the 19th, ye might see th’ Library crew walkin’ the aisles (but not the plank) in pirate garb.  Be sure t’ put yer name in a drawing for a Mango mug, T-shirt or water bottle, generously provided by Mango. (And ye might want t’ sail over to our Facebook page, which we’ll be a’settin’ t’ Pirate Lingo for th’ day.)

About Mango Languages

Mango Languages offers user-friendly online courses for more than 60 different languages and ESL for speakers of 17 languages. Mango is available FREE to anyone with a resident Elkhart Public Library card and access to high-speed internet.

To access Mango Languages from the Elkhart Public Library website:

  • Go to
  • Find “Language” on the list.
  • Click on the plus sign and choose Mango Languages.
  • Create a profile. You will be asked to sign in each time you use Mango, so you can track your progress;
    • OR Click the “Start Learning” button to use Mango without creating a profile.
  • PirateParrot-02aSelect a language course or click on the “Translate” tab, which uses the Google translation tool to interpret the ‘gist’ of conversations from one language to another. It is not a substitute for human translations.

Try the first lesson in any language on the Try Mango page.  NOTE: While it is helpful to have a microphone for a more interactive experience, you can benefit from the lessons without one.

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Mobile eReading Easier with Overdrive Media Console v3.0!

Administrator : August 15, 2013 10:14 am : Elkhart Public Library, Teens

Sl-Overdrive-iconsBorrowing eBooks from was simplified last spring. (Read about it here.) Now reading eBooks from our digital library is easier than ever, too!  The OverDrive Media Console (OMC) app for reading digital titles on your mobile device has been completely redesigned with ease of use as top priority. The new version will be available on August 20 for Android and iOS (Apple) devices. Check out a preview of the new app:

Some highlighted features include:

  • A redesigned user interface with an all-new look, streamlined navigation, and a one-stop reorganized menu.
  • Sync bookmarks and reading progress across multiple devices using a free, opt-in registration service called OverDrive One.
  • Variable speed playback for iOS, audiobook users’ most requested feature.

System Requirements: OMC v3.0 for Android users requires Android OS v4.0 (or newer). OMC for Android v2.6.5 will remain available for download. OMC for iOS requires iOS 6 (or newer).

If you already have OverDrive Media Console installed on your device, you will be prompted to update, or it will happen automatically, depending on your device settings. To install OverDrive Media Console, or for more information, visit Happy reading!

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Summer Reading Winners

Administrator : August 14, 2013 4:58 pm : Elkhart Public Library

Everyone who participated in the Summer Reading Program is a winner. Well done!

Congratulations to the prize winners in our “End-of-Summer-Reading” drawings:


Sam: Nook Color

Sam: Nook Color

Lily: Kindle Fire

Lily: Kindle Fire












































Carolanne: Kindle Fire

Carolanne: Kindle Fire

Bev: Kindle Fire

Bev: Kindle Fire w/Tina Meerzo










Laurie, Kindle Fire 4.9

Laurie: Kindle Fire 4.9 
with Tina from Circulation

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Early Elkhart Disasters: Floods, Fires & Explosions

Administrator : August 6, 2013 3:24 pm : Elkhart Public Library

by Jeanine Rhodes

Elkhart has certainly had its share of disasters – natural and otherwise – over the years. The early years of the city were especially dangerous, since safety and fire regulations and systems were not well developed.



Because the city is located on two rivers, the Elkhart and the St. Joseph, flooding has always been a concern. One of the first major floods recorded occurred in February 1887, with the Elkhart Sentinel newspaper reporting 75 buildings under water following days of rain. The flood of March 1908 resulted in Island Park, as well as a number of other low-lying Elkhart streets, being under water. Photos show residents taking to the streets in boats in order to reach their homes. Nearly 400 families were affected by the flooding.


Fire claimed a number of Elkhart factories and stores. On the morning of March 15, 1904, fire broke out in the H. B. Sykes & Co. Dry Goods Store. The first alarm sounded at 7:30. Within ten minutes of the alarms, the crowd was such that police were called to keep them at a safe distance. Fifteen store clerks were inside when the fire began, and all were safely evacuated. At one point, there were six lines streaming water into the building. Heat and smoke built up inside, bursting the ground floor display windows and showering half a dozen firefighters with glass and debris. The fire caused an estimated 0,000 loss of goods, with another ,000 loss in structures, but no loss of life.

The Harvest Queen Flour Mill (originally the Old Sage Grist Mill), located at 500-504 E. Jackson St., was discovered burning at around 6:30 a.m. on October 21, 1909. It was suspected that mill dust ignited on the fourth floor, starting the fire. The blaze totally destroyed the mill, except for the books in the office. Several firemen were injured by falling debris, and the loss was estimated at around ,000.

The C.G. Conn Musical Instrument Factory at 414-432 E. Jackson St. was destroyed by fire May 22, 1910. The extent of the damage prompted the city to purchase a steam powered pumper for the fire department. One of the night watchmen who had discovered the fire died, and nearly 100 employees were left without jobs. The company quickly rebuilt a new factory at 1101 E. Beardsley.

Shortly after the Conn fire, the Star Match Factory burned. This company was located on the north side of Ren St. between the railroad tracks and Sterling Ave. The factory had just been built the year before.  Unfortunately, the new motorized pumper ordered after the Conn fire had not yet been delivered.



A spectacular explosion on the night of February 12, 1891, at the Combination Board Mill, ranks as one of the worst industrial accidents in Elkhart’s early history. The explosion was caused by the buildup of steam along with ammonia gas inside a boiler which had not been shut down when the machine was stopped to make repairs. One of the workers, Schuyler Neiswander, was killed when his body was blown some 125 feet away. The reverberation from the blast was felt by residents as far away as Wolf’s Addition (now the Indiana/Prairie/Benham Ave. area). The Combination Board Mill was located along the St. Joseph River where Johnson and Jackson Streets meet, and was immediately rebuilt following the disaster. Several local newspapers mentioned that the company seemed to suffer more than its fair share of accidents.

 View more photos here


The Main Library has numerous books, newspapers, photos, databases and other materials available to assist with researching significant events in Elkhart’s history. Visit the Reference Desk on the second floor, and staff will be happy to point out resources of interest.

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