Branches open for success

The anticipation is over. All branch locations are open. 

Soft and cozy furniture, bright and fun children’s areas, and big windows letting in natural light make the new-look branches feel more like home. 

Completed in just less than two years, the improvements bring the neighborhood libraries up to date. The designs are intentional, as planners and library staff looked ahead to the next 20 years serving the community. 

The reviews have been extremely positive. 

Retired teacher Tammie Hibshman, who now tutors students, appreciates the meeting rooms at Cleveland Branch for her one-on-one sessions. 

“It’s nice that they offer something that’s public, that there’s a safe place with privacy, that’s quiet but convenient to our homes,” Hibshman says. “The light in the rooms is great for seeing our textbooks.” 

Meeting rooms will carry the names of local people who have made a substantial impact on lives in the Elkhart area through our history. The spaces, too, can accommodate up to 10 chairs and have screens for presenting and collaborating.  

Each location has a lounge which can be used for relaxation, remote work, or group study sessions. Comfortable furniture has been placed in reading areas under the vaulted ceilings in three of the four locations. 

“It’s bright and inviting, (with a) comfortable place to sit in front of the fireplace and read,” says library user Julane Griffee. 

In the children’s areas, easy-to-browse shelves and more kid-sized furniture have been added, along with LEGO tables.  

Throughout the buildings, guests now have the ability to check out Chromebooks to access the internet without having to wait for a computer station near the copier and printer. 

And if that isn’t enough, outdoor patios will have tables with shade umbrellas for when the weather cooperates.