Local Underground Railroad history to be discussed

Sam Householder : February 1, 2018 3:23 pm : Elkhart Public Library

underground-railroadHistory and fiction converge during a special program exploring the Underground Railroad and Elkhart County.

At 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 12 at the Osolo Branch, Patrick McGuire, curator of education at Elkhart County Historical Museum will speak about the Underground Railroad and its connections in Elkhart County, a program tied in with the Osolo Branch Page Turners Book Club’s reading of the fictional novel “Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead.

Reading the novel is not a requirement to attend McGuire’s presentation, however copies are available at Osolo Branch for checkout. The novel follows the journey of Cora as she and another slave make a desperate attempt to escape while a slave catcher is hot on their trail.

While the book is a fictionalized version of what would have happened at that time, McGuire said he will focus on the real Underground Railroad and its ties to the local area, which is tougher to pinpoint than some would think.

“We can’t prove anything and that’s the problem with the Underground Railroad,” he said.

“The question I pose in the whole talk is did the Underground Railroad come through Elkhart County? As a historian the answer is we can’t prove it, because it was illegal and the people that participated could have gone to jail if they were caught so it wasn’t documented.”

Part of his efforts have been spent debunking local lore about homes connected to the Underground Railroad.

“There are houses that have been said were stops on the Underground Railroad but in this case I’ve found that they were built after the Civil War,” he said.

McGuire said he used newspaper articles from the time that the museum has, as well as other recorded items in the collection to put together his talk. A large portion of his presentation will be about the Supreme Court case Graves et. all vs. Indiana, in which Kentucky slave catchers were arrested for causing a riot in Bristol while chasing an escaped slave.

“The program is specific to Elkhart County, we’re going to be exploring if there were people connected to it locally,” he said.



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Top Five Tuesdays: Get financial tips

Sam Householder : January 26, 2018 9:06 am : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

money-tree-on-deskThis February, Centier Bank and the Elkhart Public Library are teaming up to help people get financially set.

Top Five Tuesdays, starting at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday in February, will offer the Top Five tips for everything to get finances in order: credit score, budgeting, saving and paying down debt.

< < Click here to RSVP for the series  > >

The easy to follow courses will offer practical, easy advice and worksheets to help people figure out how to manage their money better.

The schedule of the sessions is:

Tuesday, Feb. 6: Credit

Tuesday, Feb. 13: Budgeting

Tuesday, Feb. 20: Paying down debt

Tuesday, Feb. 27: Saving

Centier will be providing a hot chocolate bar at each session and attendees of all four sessions will be entered to win a “cash tree” like the one pictured.


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Author with focus on outdoors, parenting, to visit EPL

Sam Householder : January 26, 2018 9:03 am : Elkhart Public Library

Indiana author Linda Akeson McGurk will share her take on parenting and Scandinavian culture and how the two can blend together, during a visit and book signing next month.

author-photo-by-susanne-lundAt 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 1, McGurk will be at the downtown branch of the Elkhart Public Library for a talk and signing of her book “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather.”

Barnes & Noble Mishawaka will be on hand with copies of the book for sale.

McGurk, who was born in Sweden and now lives in Covington, Ind., was inspired to write her book after she noticed a change in parenting and how children played and interacted with the outdoors compared with how she was raised.

“I’ve had the idea for the book ever since my first daughter was born all of ten years ago,” she said. “That’s when I noticed a lot of cultural differences in the parenting styles here compared to my native Sweden.

There was a culture clash and it gave me this idea for the book.”

McGurk decided to take her two daughters, age 7 and 10, back with her to Sweden to live for six months and see if it was as different as she remembered.

“I wanted to sort of tap into that and tell my story and talk about parenting in Scandinavia and talk about how to bring that into their children’s lives here,” she said.


< < Click here to RSVP for her visit > > 

The response she has gotten from the book has been great, she says, and most of all she enjoys hearing from readers that take away the Swedish ideals of “hygge” (pronounced hue-guh) and “friluftsliv” (free-loofts-liv) which are about being cozy, comfortable and in tune with nature, and apply them to their own lives.

“I had one mom tell me she always used to drive to work even though she only lives half a mile from work,” she said.

“Another told me she now lets her daughter walk home from school. I think a lot of people just need the motivation, especially this time of year when it’s cold and gets dark early.”

McGurk said that she hopes that the book will resonate with parents that both remember a time when children weren’t so digitally “plugged in” and played outside, as well as a younger generation of parents that is.

“It’s about connecting with nature on a deeper level, outside of outside adventure sports and being one with nature and I look forward to sharing a bit more about that,” she said.



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From books to the big screen: Adaptations coming out in March and April

Sam Householder : January 25, 2018 4:34 pm : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

Avid readers will have plenty of new TV shows and movies to say “the book was better” about this year.

ready-player-oneWe’ve rounded up the titles that are coming out over the next couple of months and tried to include the network and release date where we could and linked to the book inside our catalog.

We’ll revisit and update every couple months so that you know what to keep an eye out for and what to read before it comes out on TV and in the theater.

Which one are you most looking forward to? Which one do you think will lose the most by going from book to screen?

Red Sparrow – Released on March 2, Jennifer Lawrence stars as a ballerina that is recruited into a Russian intelligence organization that seduces foreign operatives.


wrinkle-in-timeA Wrinkle in Time – Searching for her father after he disappeared while searching another dimension, a girl, her brother and friend must enter the new dimension to find him. Based on the classic Madeleine L’Engle. In theaters March 9.

Love, Simon – Coming March 16, the movie is based on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, follows a boy as he wrestles with understanding his sexual orientation and trying to figure out who the classmate he is falling in love with online really is.

Ready Player One – A popular virtual reality game developer dies and posthumously promises his fortune to the person that can figure out his game.

Howard’s End – The four-episode mini series comes to Starz Network in April following an earlier airing across the pond on the BBC.

You Were Never Really Here – An ex-FBI agent searching for a politician’s daughter uncovers a web of corruption. Based on the Jonathan Ames novel, the movie with Joaqin Phoenix premieres April 6.



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Online payment of fees, fines now available

Sam Householder : January 24, 2018 11:27 am : Elkhart Public Library

Online payment to Elkhart Public Library for fines, fees and other transactions is now available.

Online payment is available outside of EPL locations by accessing the “My Account” section at At this time payment is only available if the outstanding balance due is at least .

All major credit cards and PayPal are accepted for payments.

For a more a step by step walkthrough of the process, see below.

1. Click on “My Account” on the library homepage:, it has been circled in red below:









2. Login using your library card number and pin number (typically the last four digits of your phone number)


3. Look at the menu on the left of the screen and if there is money owed there will be a dollar amount at the top of the “Elkhart Public Library” menu. Click on it.


4. Select the payment(s) you’d like to make by checking the box next to them, or select them all by checking the box at the top of the list. Then select “Pay From Home” button


4. The next screen just confirms which payment(s) you’ll be making, if everything looks good select “Continue” and you’ll be redirected to the payment site


5. Enter payment information and then click the “Pay Now” button or, if PayPal is selected, follow the PayPal prompts


That’s it, you’re done!

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