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, boasts about 140 members, and provides 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, 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 they want, simply paying dues, volunteering or 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.
With October underway it’s the season of spooky, scary and fun and the Elkhart Public Library has a number of activities for Halloween fans of all ages.
From stories of the paranormal to costume making and pumpkin launching, the library has you covered this season.
Here are the activities happening this month:
- Friday, Oct. 27, at 4 p.m., the downtown library will host a haunted gingerbread house making event
- Monday, Oct. 30, at 4:30 p.m., the Pierre Moran branch will host a Halloween party with treats, games and more
- Monday, Oct. 31, at 10 a.m., the downtown library will host a Halloween parade for kiddos in costume, stories and a craft
- Monday, Oct. 31, at 4:30 p.m., the downtown library will host a Halloween party with games, a craft, prizes for book-themed costumes and much more
As always for the full list of activities check out our events calendar.
Elkhart Public Library and ETHOS Science Center are bringing the moon to our hometown … literally. Moon rocks, a spacesuit, the Science 2 Go bus and more will be here for Family Moon Night, 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2, at the downtown library.
The special event will include hands-on activities and education, and families will learn about International Observe the Moon Night later in the month. 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.
The moon, after all, is the Earth’s closest neighbor, and it has much more effect on us than you might think. The moon affects the sea and the tides, and every night, it reflects the sun’s light back to Earth.
Family Moon Night is just one of the ways Elkhart Public Library is involving our area in STEAM-related education through NASA @ My Library, a grant awarded to just 75 communities across the country. ETHOS Science Center is one of our important partners in the effort.
ETHOS’ goal is getting children to connect science to everyday life through problem-solving, discovery and critical thinking.
“We believe in the STEAM approach because it is best practice to integrate science, technology, art, and math,” says Lisa Nyers, a STEAM consultant for ETHOS, “thus, increasing comprehension of concepts, and preparing students for success in the 21st century.
“Through this approach students are encouraged to solve real life problems using collaboration, technology, and both science and math skills,” Nyers said. “Students communicate their findings through art, oral, and written skills, and support their claims with evidence and reasoning from their research. These are skills needed to be successful in careers of the 21st century, and students who learn in this way are not only prepared for high school, college, the job market, but for a successful life.”
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.
Throughout the school year, 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 – 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 and Cleveland
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.