BY AUDRIE GARRISON
ELKHART -- The man who oversaw almost all of the expansion of the Elkhart Public Library from a single downtown building to that plus a branch in every township died Thursday.
George Brich served as director for the library from 1975 to 2000.
"He was totally committed to library service in this community and totally committed to the expansion of services," said Connie Jo Ozinga, current director of the EPL.
Ozinga said Brich's goal was to build a branch in every township the library serves. By the time he had retired, he had built a branch in every township but Cleveland, and he had purchased land for a branch there, leaving Ozinga to build it.
Stuart Basquin, who served on the library board until Brich retired, said the expansion of the library was Brich's greatest accomplishment as director.
"He certainly was able to build up the library financially so it had a very good base during his administration and was able to then be very instrumental in doing the library additions," Basquin said.
Former library board member Mary Davis said Brich was admired and respected by his peers for his knowledge and vision.
Davis said she joined the board because of Brich, who met her as a patron and asked her to join.
"There's a lot more to running a library than buying books," Davis said. "George knew every nuance of the nuts and bolts and dollars and cents of running a library. He was a great librarian."