Remembering the Blizzard of 1978

Sam Householder : January 18, 2018 4:33 pm : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

viewscan_0000The ‘A Word for the Day’ on the Thursday, Jan. 26, 1978 edition of the Elkhart Truth read “If you don’t have somewhere to go, DON’T!” Such was the situation during the infamous Blizzard of 1978.

Next week will mark 40 years since the infamous storm, which dumped nearly two feet of snow across the region over the course of two days. Blowing winds caused snowdrifts several feet deep and schools and businesses closed for days as everyone dug out.

The Elkhart Public Library has a trove of local history materials and items pertaining to the blizzard, including newspaper archives from those days.

We also asked our staff for their own recollections of the storm and the next several days, as frigid temperatures made playing outside dangerous and transportation was only available by snowmobile.

Lori Wolgamood

bear1This is a funny picture of our dog Bear and I, after the snow stopped falling and we got out….to dig out. Bear, wanted so much to come out and help us. But, not long after his paws would get too cold for him to be out. My sister and I had gotten footy socks for Christmas, so we decided to make boots out of them for poor Bear. After getting used to the feel of these strange things on his paws, and, much silly walking, he finally got to be out with his peeps. Bear became a very happy camper. He loved chasing snowballs and shovels full of snow tossed into the air.

Jeanne Glanders

Our neighbors (father & son) decided to walk to the grocery and took orders from everyone in the neighborhood. We could get three items. Most were getting bread, milk, eggs, and other necessities. My parents picked: wine, cigarettes and Grape Nuts (the only cereal I would eat). We had plenty of milk and bread but my parents had run out of the fun stuff. We originally said wine, cereal and a TV guide but our neighbors said the TV Guide could be an extra item since it didn’t weigh anything. My parents looked selfish in their picks but we were really well fortified.

My best friend (and the daughter of the above father and son) lived across the street. She and I began digging until we had a tunnel which went from right outside my door to her porch. Now I realize how dangerous it was. If it collapsed we would have been in trouble!

Lori Walsh

I remember that my siblings and I delivered South Bend Tribune newspapers in the blizzard because the paper truck was able to make it to our house to give us the papers to deliver to neighbors and others on our route.

viewscan_0001Jane Garoutte

I have nothing but fond memories of the Blizzard of ’78!  Memories of snowmobiling, sledding and skiing at Swiss Valley following that blizzard. I remember digging tunnels out of the house, jumping off the roof into 10 foot drifts (after shoveling 4-5 foot off the roof) and the 12-plus foot walls of snow lining Main Street in Jones, Mich. where I grew up. We dug the most fantastic snow tunnels into the snow banks along that same street. We had several snowmobiles and a dog sled that we pulled behind them, taking food and other supplies to those who were trapped in their homes further out in the country. It was a fantastic unexpected vacation from school and my sisters and our neighbors had a blast. I know that not everyone has such nostalgia for this storm, but seems like a wonderful dream to me! I have often wished we had gotten some pictures.


< < Click here for more information on our local history and genealogy section > >

The EPL and the Elkhart County Historical Museum have some materials on the Blizzard of 1978, but lack many photographs. Michelle Nash, curator of collections for the ECHM, said that often events that have occurred in living memory don’t wind up in history museums for several decades.

“Oddly enough, the event may be too recent even at 40 years ago. It may be surprising to hear, but I’ve noticed this can happen at museums whose collections are primarily donation based: there is perhaps a perception that more recent events aren’t quite ‘history yet’ and therefore materials related to them do not get donated as often,” she said.

“Of course, in this case, maybe everyone was too busy shoveling to take pictures!”

If people do have photographs they wish to donate contact us at or or call the library at 574-522-5669 and the museum at 574-848-4322.

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Board Meeting Minutes 2017 12

Administrator : January 17, 2018 2:08 pm : Elkhart Public Library



Members present: Mary E. Davis, Janice E. Dean, Carlos Esteves, Jennifer Nielsen, James Rieckhoff and Clarence Thomas. Renee’ Cocanower was unable to attend.

Others present: Jane A. Garoutte, Business Manager/Treasurer and Lisa Guedea Carreño, Director.

Staff present: Linda Cary, Technical Services Clerk; Jeanne Glanders, Popular Materials Department Head; Marianne Kruppa, Circulation Department Head; Mark van Lummel, Technical Services Department Head; and Paula Watson, Administrative Clerk.

Regular Board of Trustees Meeting was called to order at 5:34 p.m. by Janice Dean.


The consent agenda was presented.

There being no objections, James Rieckhoff moved

THAT the Consent Agenda, including investment recommendation, be adopted.

Carlos Esteves seconded Motion: carried


Janice Dean thanked everyone for a good year. The food baskets will be delivered to the branches on Wednesday, December 20, by Board Members.


Lisa Guedea Carreño, Director, presented her report for the month of December. Topics Lisa covered were Employee Insurance Benefits and Annual Compensation Increases.

Department Report

Mark van Lummel, Technical Services Department Head, reported on the many aspects of the Technical Services Department and how each phase affects the function of the Library.


Social Media Policy revision (second reading)

Lisa Guedea Carreño, Director presented the changes to this policy. James Rieckhoff moved

THAT the Social Media Policy be adopted as presented.

Mary Davis seconded Motion: carried


Child Abuse or Neglect Reporting Policy (first reading)

Lisa Guedea Carreño, Director, presented to the board a policy to provide guidance to employees and volunteers of the Library regarding their mandatory obligation to report suspected child abuse or neglect according to the law.

Clarence Thomas moved

THAT Child Abuse or Neglect Reporting Policy be approved as presented

Carlos Esteves seconded Motion: carried

2018 Board Meeting Schedule

Lisa Guedea Carreño, Director, presented the proposed Board Meeting Schedule for 2018.

Clarence Thomas moved

THAT there be an amendment to change the November meeting from November 20, 2018 to November 27, 2018.

James Rieckhoff seconded Motion: carried

2018 Holiday Closing Schedule

Lisa Guedea Carreño, Director, presented the 2018 Holiday Closing Schedule.

Jennifer Nielsen moved

THAT the 2018 Holiday Closing Schedule be approved as presented.

Mary Davis seconded Motion: carried

Annual Compensation Increases

Lisa Guedea Carreño, Director reviewed her recommendation for annual compensation increases included in her Director’s report.

Mary Davis moved

THAT annual compensation increase of 2% be awarded to eligible staff.

Jennifer Nielsen seconded Motion: carried

Questions and Information from Board, Staff, and Guests

James Rieckhoff spoke about Grants that are earmarked for children and available through Rotary.


The regular Board meeting was adjourned by Janice E. Dean at 7:17 p.m.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees will be January 16, 2018 at Main Library, 300 S. Second St., Elkhart, IN

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Prepare for the Battle of the Books

Sam Householder : January 16, 2018 4:19 pm : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

dsc_0288Fifth and six graders can build their teams and prepare for battle, a reading battle.

The third Battle of the Books will take place Saturday, March 24 , with teams answering questions about the books they’ve read to claim glory for their team.

Teams should be forming now, with each team made up of five members, with up to five alternates, according to Allison McLean, head of Young People’s Services.

The fifth and sixth graders will have 10 weeks to read 10 books, McLean said, emphasizing that team members may divide the reading up however they want. Teams will then answer trivia questions about the books on March 24 with the winning team getting a trophy and bragging rights.


Here are the books of the 2018 Battle of the Books:

“Ms. Bixby’s Last Day” by John David Anderson

“The Book Scavenger” by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

“Flora & Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo

“Found” by Margaret Peterson Haddix

“Chomp” by Carl Hiaasen

“Rhyme Schemer” by K. A. Holt

“Crenshaw” by Katherine Applegate

“A Handful of Stars” by Cynthia Lord

“Zane and the Hurricane” by W. R. Philbrick

“The Blackthorn Key” by Kevin Sands

“It’s really awesome because in fifth and sixth grade, kids lose the will to read for fun and this is a great way to keep them engaged in it,” McLean said.

“For kids that continue to read for fun this a great way for them to get recognition, children in sports are often get recognition, this is a chance for readers to get in the spotlight.”

The books will be provided by the library and returned after the program, so that it may continue in future years.

Interested students should talk to their teacher or school librarian, McLean said and if students do not have a sponsoring teacher, they can use a parent as a coach.


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Author with focus on outdoors, parenting, to visit EPL

Sam Householder : January 16, 2018 11:21 am : Elkhart Public Library, Home Feature

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.

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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Board Meeting Agenda 2018 01

Administrator : January 12, 2018 4:42 pm : Elkhart Public Library




1. Adopt Agenda
2. Minutes of the Last Meeting
3. Business Manager’s Report and Finances
a. Financial Reports – December 2017
b. Claims-to-be-paid – January/February
c. Projected Summary of Cash – January/February
d. Cash Flow & Investment Recommendation – January
e. Preliminary Annual Financial Reports – 2017
4. Personnel Changes Report
5. PLAC 2017 4th Quarter Report (signature required)


1. Informational Items
2. Department Report – Trevor Wendzonka, Marketing


1. Salary Schedule 2018
2. Fee Schedule 2018
3. 2017 Transfer to LIRF
4. 2017 Encumbrances
5. 2017 Budget Transfers
6. Resolution to Pay Bills With Prior Approval 2018
7. Resolution to Establish Cash Accounts 2018

G. Questions and Information from Board, Staff, and Guests

NEXT SCHEDULED BOARD MEETING: February 20, 2018 at 5:30 pm at the Main Library.

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