Middlebury to hold first 'Literary Carousel'

MIDDLEBURY — The community is invited next month to take a spin through Middlebury that many people probably haven’t taken yet.

In an effort to promote literacy, the Middlebury Community Public Library and the Middlebury Then & Now committee put their heads together to create a new family-friendly event: The Middlebury Literary Carousel. The event will take place on May 5.

Victoria Gutschenritter, media and programming librarian, said she and other organizers have been planning the event since last fall. Their hope is to bring local children and their families together in a fun and enjoyable atmosphere while emphasizing the importance of literacy for life-long learning.

“Reading is a base for all further education,” she said. “The idea of the Literary Carousel is that literacy is not just reading with your eyes; it is also being a literate speaker and getting hooked on ideas through art, story-telling or music. It leads to the creation of a stronger, vibrant community.”

The event will include a full day of reading- and writing-related activities for children of all ages. Hour-long sessions, classes and presentations will be held throughout the day. Everything is free except the WNIT “Dinner and a Book” session, according to the release from event organizers.

You can begin the adventure on the carousel at the library. Phillip Gulley, who has authored 21 books, will be on site. Bruce Langston, an internationally known contemporary artist from Granger, will be providing “Learn to Illustrate” classes for all, kindergarten through adult.

For children, there will be a bookmark contest, sponsored by First State Bank. The Boys & Girls Club kids will be writing and reading their own original stories. Outside, sections of the sidewalk at East and Memorial Parks will be marked off for attendees to draw their own book cover. Linda Pieri, a local artist, will oversee it.

Over at Kris Gardens, Shari Wagner will provide a poetry writing workshop. She is Indiana’s fifth Poet Laureate and the author of two books of poems. Her two-hour workshop is open to the first twelve people who sign up, Gutschenritter said.

The Middlebury Community Historical Museum will host a session on developing your family history as a narrative presented by the Genealogical Society of Elkhart County. There will also be a photo preservation and journaling segment, assisting you in maintaining and recording your family’s events. Richard Smith will also tell local stories at the museum. Take another spin on the carousel to stop by East Park where Lou Ann Homan will tell Northern Indiana stories, appropriate for all ages, under the tent.

The last stop of the carousel adventure will be the WNIT “Dinner and a Book” session with Gail Martin at the library. She will prepare and share how to make church supper type food while talking about the book "Home to Harmony" by Philip Gulley. You will receive samples of the food and it will cost $5 to participate. Keep watch on the library’s website to learn how to reserve your seat.

A full schedule for the carousel can be found on the library’s website and at various Middlebury locations.

Gutschenritter said the group will continue the carousel next year if it is well received by the residents and visitors.

“We’re hoping for a turnout of at least 200 people,” she said.

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