Michiana Stories

March 8, 2021 | By: Communications Staff

Libraries are home to countless stories, and the St. Joseph County Public Library is adding a few more to its collection with the debut of the radio program Michiana Stories. This podcast will air weekly on Mondays at 7:45 a.m. during Morning Edition and at 4:45 p.m. during All Things Considered on 88.1 WVPE. It is a production of SJCPL and 88.1 WVPE, with additional support from the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County ArtsEverywhere initiative.

The podcast’s short 4-5 minute episodes focus on relationships between local individuals. These conversations often involve family members or friends learning new things, sharing memories, or finding common ground. In the first episode, retired Polka musician Kenny Bartkowiak shared memories of music and past Dyngus Day celebrations with his daughter, Amy.

Michiana Stories is created by SJCPL Digital Content Specialist Melody Lutz with technical help from Cori Graham, an IT technician at the library. Lutz records the conversations, which often last between 30 and 60 minutes, in the Main Library’s Studio 304. She says that she was amazed to see “a stronger bond developing between the participants” during the course of the recording sessions. She continues: “This project celebrates connections between people in our community.” Lutz aims to create a collection of diverse and organic conversations between Michiana residents about all facets of life in our area.

To date, seven episodes have been recorded and three have aired.

  • Kenny and Amy Bartkowiak, father and daughter, discuss polka music, Dyngus day and South Bend’s Polish communities (air date: April 2)
  • Juan Constantino, development coordinator at La Casa de Amistad, remembers his family’s journey from Mexico to South Bend (air date: April 9)
  • Rabbi Michael Friedland and Imam Mohammad Sirajuddin explore faith, family and community in South Bend (air date: April 16)
  • Buddy Pearson and the Music Village Rock School 101 students share their musical influences and what they’ve learned in class  (air date: April 23)
  • Christina Brooks, director of the City’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and Reggie Brooks, director of Student-Athlete Alumni Relations and Engagement at Notre Dame and former NFL and Notre Dame football player, talk about marriage and parenting
  • Rebecca and Faith, mother and daughter, converse about their management positions in an industrial supply company in Elkhart
  • IUSB Stage for Change Actors Faryal Sheikh and Mateo Beserra perform monologues from the March 2017 performance of “Hear Me Out”

An archive of past episodes can be found here.

Michiana Stories features voices from across the community. The conversations generally involve two individuals. If would like to share your story and participate in a conversation, please contact Melody Lutz at 574-235-4199 or m.lutz@sjcpl.org to set up a recording time.

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