Monday, October 12, 2015

Genealogy for Night Owls

It's coming! It's coming!  Our semi-annual Genealogy for Night Owls is scheduled for Friday October 23.  The main library closes at 5:30 and the Night Owls come alive.  We will have a catered dinner (Main Occasions - Amy Black Stier - Chef Extraordinaire), door prizes, snacks, and lots of fun.  Somehow we will manage to fit in some research too.  Cost for the evening is $18.  Come in to the Genealogy & Local History Dept in the lower level of main library to register and pay the fee.  We will be looking for you...the more the merrier!


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Annual Silent Auction

It is time for our annual Genealogy & Local History Department Silent Auction.  The books in the auction are either extra copies or a bit outdated.  The auction runs the entire month of October and you are welcome to submit bids via email.  Bid lots of times, you never know who might be bidding for that same book!

Go here for the bid sheet and list of books:

Of course, you are always welcome to pop in to see the friendly staff and peruse the books at your leisure.

The proceeds from this auction go to the Howard County Genealogical Society.  They give back to our department by providing opportunities for training and new books for our shelves.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Introducing our Summer Intern, Mary Helen Thompson!

     Mary Helen Thompson is in her second year attending Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.  She is an English major, with a Literature concentration and a minor in Missions.  Her future plans include hoping to work in publishing as an editor.  
Downtown Quito
 Mary Helen recently returned from a 3 1/2 week mission’s trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.  She was one of the leaders of a group of High School girls.  “I felt that God had called me to this trip because I applied for it and could have been rejected.  I had to step out of my comfort zone by spending time with people that I had never met before as well as flying by myself to meet my group.  It was great to work towards a common goal with people from all across the U.S. and Canada.
Mary Helen's Team performing a skit for the Ecuador people
Mary Helen is the 2nd girl on the left with the ponytail
Mary Helen's Team - She is 4th from the left in the front

Mountainside in Eucador  
     When she is not working or studying, Mary Helen enjoys playing/listening to music, watching TV and blogging!

    Mary Helen has been volunteering in the Digitization Department since May.  She has been working on converting the Northwestern Panorama yearbooks to our new software.  [Melanie:  Mary Helen graduated from Northwestern! ] She has also been working hard on converting our Marriage Records from the 1800’s. 

   As I type this blog, it is Mary Helen's last day in the Digitization Room.  It won't be the same without her enthusiasm, attention to detail, solid work ethic and non-stop chatter. (OK, the first three are true, but the only chatter we heard from her was from her incredibly quick typing skills.....)  She has been an asset to OUR Library team, and we are thankful for her help this summer.                                                                                                                                                                  - Melanie

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

[from left to right:  Ron, Queen Amy, Melanie, Hillarie, Mary Helen and Richard; Janice, Cindy and Mary were off pollinating flowers ;-)]

Happy July!
     Some of you who follow the library's Facebook page may have noticed this "bee-utiful"  picture as part of a library competition for best department themed picture.  I am happy to report that the Genealogy and Local History Department's photo of "Amy's Buzzy Bees" won first place!  The reason I am posting it today, is to highlight the two attractive bees on the right next to our beekeeper, a regular Genealogy patron named Richard...(thanks for keeping us in line, Richard!)  The young lady in the black sweater is Mary Helen, and the lady in goldenrod is Hillarie.  They are our summer interns, and I thought I would tell you a little about Hillarie in this blogpost, and then about Mary Helen next month.  Mary Helen is currently in Ecuador leading a summer mission's work trip for high school students.  When she gets back I'm sure she'll have a picture or two I can include on the blog!

   Hillarie is a recent graduate of Taylor University.  Her degree (which will be granted in August) is in Media Communications, with emphasis in Journalism.  When she is not typing her fingers off here in the Digitization office she enjoys  reading fantasy and young adult novels, watching TV reruns of Boy Meets World, playing with her cat, Topanga, drinking coffee, and spending time with her fiance, Britton.  [editor's note:  don't worry, were  first on the list of favorites, I'm just messing with you by putting you last!)

   Hillarie spent last summer interning at the Kokomo Tribune working in the advertising department. This summer, we are grateful to have her here doing data entry helping to convert our Eastern High School yearbooks, as well as adding new Court Records and Marriage Records to our collection.  In addition to data entry, Hillarie will be scanning some new yearbooks for our elementary school yearbook collection.  Although her internship in this office ends the middle of August, we are happy to learn she will still be a library employee as she accepts a job as Computer Lab Assistant in the Reference Department!  Hooray!   If you happen to see her around the library, be sure to welcome her to the KHCPL family!
                                                                                 - Melanie


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Carl Leiter

    This month Kokomo lost a very special citizen.  Here is an excerpt from the short biography we have for him on our Howard County Memory Project:

Historical research and writing have been Carl Leiter’s serious hobbies  since the early 1950s and his articles have appeared in the Kokomo Tribune, the Kokomo Morning Times, and other newspapers published in Howard County.
Carl Leiter, a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, attended Indiana Central College until he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in July 1942. Carl mustered out of the Navy in December 1945 and returned to college under the G.I. Bill. He graduated from Manchester College in 1950, and earned a Master of Arts degree in History from Ball State College in 1954. Carl taught Social Studies at Howard School from 1950 to 1952; and in the Kokomo-Center Schools from 1952 to 1984 at Central, Elwood Haynes, Maple Crest, and Kokomo High School.

Carl married Martha McKain in 1943, and they lived in Kokomo and were both retired from Kokomo-Center Schools; they were members of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Carl passed away May 26, 2015.   The Leiters have three children: Richard is a psychometrist with the Connersville Public Schools, Susie Killingbeck is a teacher in the Kokomo School System, and David has been employed in California since his graduation from Indiana University. The Leiters also have six grandchildren living in Indiana and in California, and three great-grandchildren.

      Mr. Leiter donated all of his newspaper articles to the Genealogy Local History Department so we could publish them on our Howard County Memory Project website.  In addition to digitizing all of the articles, hard copies were made and put in a notebook, which we currently have available for viewing in the Genealogy Department.  These historical articles are full of fascinating trivia about not only Howard County and Kokomo local history, but about our country's early days, and about individual sports icons.  We are very grateful to Mr. Leiter for his gift of writing, and for his generosity in allowing us to open his history up to a wider audience, through our website.  If you have not viewed his collection, please take a moment to check it out.  I guarantee you will learn something!  It is Carl Leiter's Local History collection on the Howard County Memory Project.

   Our thoughts and sincere sympathies are with the Carl Leiter family at this time.  We will continue his legacy of loving history by preserving and  sharing his collection on our Memory Project.  
                                                              - Melanie

Thursday, April 2, 2015

     It was soooo exciting to be able to walk outside yesterday (April 1) without my snow boots, overcoat and gloves.  Dare I say that spring may actually be here?  Yup...and now starts the rainy season, when I discover my shoes leak, my hair frizzes and my septic is full.  Yes, spring has sprung!  The good news is this rain is going to wash away all that horrible salt and grime from my car (yay- it is silver again!) and create a rainbow of colors for us to enjoy.  It will be too beautiful to stay inside...unless of course you plan to attend our semi-annual Genealogy for Night Owls on Friday, April 17 from 5:30 P.M. to midnight.  THAT EVENT will be inside the KHCPL-Main Library where we will be dry and cozy in the Genealogy Local History Department.  This is an after-hours research evening designed for experienced genealogists.   There is a small fee for the event which allows you to  enjoy a scrumptious buffet dinner, evening snacks and door prizes.

  • Members of the Howard County Genealogical Society fee:  $16.00
  • Non-members fee:  $18.00    

       Call the Genealogy Department  (626-0838) right now to secure your spot.

    And in case you didn't notice....being a member of the Howard County Genealogical Society has it's perks.  If you haven't renewed your membership for 2015, now is the time to do it.  For $15 a year you get a quarterly newsletter (value: $12);  discounts on Night Owl programs (value: $4 per person) AND monthly business meetings with educational programs relating to genealogy, as well as refreshments and door prizes! (value:  priceless).    

I'll close for the month with the same thing I started with.....a picture of April!  This April is my granddaughter, and I just had to include her in this blog because it is, after, April!!!!!! 

                                         - Melanie 

"Let's go swing, grandma!!!"


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March is here, and that means the madness begins!  People are mad about the weather, and March brings the spring solstice....hopefully spring will be around the corner.  

Others are mad about having to get their taxes done, but the AARP is still hard at work here at the Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays filing taxes for free.  They will be here until April 14, but you need to call FIRST to make an appointment:  765-626-0841.  

Maybe you are part of the majority of Hoosiers who are  mad about basketball!  Well, this is YOUR favorite month, because the college teams will be playing non-stop.  The March Madness bracket chart reminds me a bit of a Genealogy Family chart:  
Hmmm...maybe when you finish filling out your Bracket chart, you may want to attend the Genealogy for Night Owls coming up on April 17 and try your hand at some genealogy research.  

I'm a bit mad about the slow speed in which I am getting those yearbooks posted to the Howard County Memory Project.  But soon, we will have two summer interns typing feverishly to update our collection. Oh, and speaking of yearbooks,  did you know the Genealogy Department now has the 2014 Eastern, Kokomo, Northwestern and Western yearbooks?  (Taylor did not publish one)  Give me a few more days and by the end of March I should also have the Graduation List updated to include graduates up through 2014.  

Yes, March is the month of make the most of it here at the Library, or in the comfort of your home with our online resources

 Oh, and did I tell you how MAD I am that I have to wait until January 2016 for the next installment of Downton Abbey????Arghghgh!   - Melanie

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

     February is upon us, and the Arctic chill in the air is unrelenting!    Since going outside is out of the question, how about doing some genealogical research from home using our Genealogy resources?  We have several online resources which you can access right from the comfort of your home.  Here is the link to our Genealogical Resource page.  Pour yourself a cup of hot tea and curl up in front of your monitor as you explore the world wide web of knowledge.  One caveat: must be accessed from within the next time there is a thaw, you can check out that one!)   And while you are at it, you may want to check out the Howard County Memory Project.   I am working on restoring a project from our old website:  Long Term Lovers.  Since February is the month of LOVE, what better time to beat the cold than to turn up the heat.
- Melanie

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I LOVE this time of year because it is the perfect time to get organized (or reorganized!) and convert the chaos into some semblance of order.  I found this quote and have decided to apply it to not only my home life, but my work life as well:

"The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.  We can help write that story by setting goals." - Melody Beattie.

Melody Beattie is a published author (Codependent No More, plus others) and so she knows a thing or two about how to write a book.  This year before me is an unwritten chapter in my book of life, and before I waste time reacting to what life throws at me, I am going to take the time and set some goals for the day, for the week, for the month....something to give me a direction for the future.  I've already spent the morning working on my work goals, and want to share them with you:

2015 Goals

  • Add at least one new yearbook to the Howard County Memory Project each month
  • Add one new Kokomo Civic Theatre Scrapbook and Playbill collection each quarter
  • Scan new material each month, and publish something new each quarter
  • Convert at least 76 yearbooks from the old software to the new software
  • Convert at least 4 church records from the old software to the new software
  • Update the design of the website with our new IT Head
  • Find at least one volunteer to help with data entry
  • Check my 2015 goals each month to check my progress
  • Update the department blog monthly with my progress

Ultimately, the "book" I am writing at work is the Howard County Memory Project.  There are other items on the goal list, but these are the ones I wanted to share because you can hold me accountable to them by checking the  website and blog regularly.  I'd appreciate your input and suggestions as I work to achieve the goals I've set for this chapter in my work life.  I welcome your email at

Well, the weather outside says it is definitely winter in Kokomo.  If you want to warm up, come to the Genealogy Department.  At this time of year, we are actually warmer than it is outdoors!  ;-)
Happy January!