The home for information

Elkhart Public Library first opened Oct. 2, 1903, and counted 7,793 books within a year. Today, the number of physical items inside the five locations is nearly 400,000 – books, movies, music and more.

Ted Drake, the Elkhart artist who created the Notre Dame leprechaun and other iconic images, painted this mural in the downtown location during the early 1960s.

The library moved from its Carnegie home to the current downtown spot at Second and High streets in 1963. The Martin Foundation, founded by Esther and Ross Martin of NIBCO Inc., financed the $1 million project.

Branch locations started opening in 1975, and the library started going digital in 1989 with a computerized catalog. In 1997, Elkhart Public Library launched its first web page.

An historical marker for playwright Charles Gordone, an Elkhart native who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1970, is outside the downtown location.