Discover a Summer of Fun with SJCPL Discovery Passes!

Summer is here, and the St. Joe County Public Library (SJCPL) has an exciting way for you to make the most of it! Have you heard about our Discovery Passes?

What Are Discovery Passes?

Discovery Passes are a special offering from SJCPL, providing library cardholders with free access to a variety of local attractions. This summer, take advantage of these passes to enjoy museums, parks, cultural sites, and more. It’s our way of helping you discover new experiences, learn something new, and make unforgettable memories.

Where Can You Go?

With your SJCPL Discovery Pass, you can visit a range of exciting places. Here are just a few of the amazing destinations included:

  • The History Museum: Step back in time and explore the rich history of South Bend and beyond.
  • National Studebaker Museum: Discover the fascinating history of the iconic Studebaker automobiles.
  • Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve: Relax and explore nature at its finest in this beautiful garden and preserve.

Why Use Discovery Passes?

  • Cost Savings: Enjoy fantastic local attractions without spending a dime.
  • Family-Friendly: Discovery Passes are perfect for family outings, offering something for everyone to enjoy.
  • Support Local Culture: Experience the rich cultural and natural heritage of South Bend and support local institutions.
  • Educational Value: Many of the attractions provide educational opportunities for all ages, making learning fun and interactive.

Get Started Today

Ready to embark on a summer of discovery? Visit our Discovery Passes page to learn more and reserve your passes. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to explore, learn, and have fun—all courtesy of your St. Joe County Public Library.

Connections Start Here at SJCPL!

Watch: A Book for Every Story

In collaboration with local filmmaker Sam Villagra-Stanton, the St. Joe County Public Library has produced A Book for Every Story, a video that shows the value of each individual book and person at the library.

What would happen if slowly, one-by-one, books were removed from the library’s shelves, and if the people who sought those materials vanished? The video shows the importance of an inclusive collection to our community.

The library is grateful to the community members and staff who generously gave of their time to participate in the production of this video. Born in Chile, Villagra- Stanton is a 2021 alumnus of John Adams High School who produced a state-winning screenplay as part of an IB film class during his senior year. His passion is video production.

Creatives Access Studio 304

This Giving Tuesday we’ve decided to focus on the impact some of our resources have been able to make throughout our community. Studio 304 our digital media lab has been the catalyst for many creatives in the area to find community and pick up on new skills.

One of those creatives being Taylor who has been a regular attendee of the Studio’s Creator Meetups and many other Studio 304 programs. She currently works in the field of computer programming, but she came to the Meetups for a chance to build her skills in the area of 3D modeling and animation. Through this past summer she worked on creating abstract characters in bright and colorful settings and eventually discovered ways to create animations using her characters.

Taylor has always been a very encouraging presence at the meetups. When the idea came about to shift the annual summer meetups to a year-round patron-led club, Taylor was the first person that came to mind. 

When the idea was brought to her she gladly accepted. She is now leading Creator Club meetings in Studio 304 on the 3rd Saturday of every month.

Limited number of free tickets available for Classics in the Courtyard 

Update: There are no more free tickets available, but tickets are still available for purchase from the South Bend Civic Theatre.

The Library has partnered with the South Bend Civic Theatre to bring you two outdoor performances in the Richard Pfeil Family Courtyard this summer.  All performances begin at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $27 for youth. A limited number of free tickets are available for each performance. 

Complete the online form by Friday, August 4 by indicating your name, contact information, selected performance date and preferred library locations. By Wednesday, August 9, the Library will notify all patrons who submit a request for tickets whether or not there are enough tickets for their selected date. Tickets will be available at the branch of your choice.

Pride and Prejudice  
August 11, 13, 17, 19, 25

Pride and Prejudice is a streamlined theatrical version of Jane Austen’s classic novel involving manners, courtship and relationships. When the independent-minded Elizabeth meets the handsome but enigmatic Mr. Darcy, all feelings of attraction are muted by his pride and her prejudice. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
August 12, 18, 20, 26, 27

On a Midsummer’s night, four young lovers find themselves wrapped in the dream-like arms of an enchanted forest where sprites lurk and fairies rule. While a feuding Fairy King and Queen are at war, their paths are crossed by Bottom, Quince and their friends presenting a play within a play. Rated PG.

Practice Sessions
The public may attend dress rehearsal sessions on August 9 for Pride and Prejudice and on August 10 for A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. No tickets are required for those events. These sessions are ‘Pay-What-You-Can’, meaning that you can pay any amount (even as low as $1) and you can see both shows.

Local artist’s work on exhibit at Main Library

The St. Joe County Public Library will showcase the work of local artist, Kamika Perry of KP Art Studios from May 16 through June 16 in the Gallery at Main Library, 304 S. Main Street during normal hours. The community is invited to an opening reception Tuesday, May 16 from 6-8pm.

Perry, a Jamaican native, is an abstract painter who lives and works in the South Bend area. Her art draws inspiration from her emotions and internal processes. Her work often explores the depths of human emotion and the complexity of the human psyche. The Library is honored to host her first gallery exhibit. 

The St. Joe County Public Library gallery provides an innovative space for local creators, partners and library staff to create and display exhibits in line with the library’s mission. The Gallery is a space for viewing art and displays from or with a connection to our South Bend community.

Community spills the ink at annual poetry reading

It’s hard to wish for snowflakes to melt when they’re so fragile, beautiful, and new. But they need to melt for dandelion wishes to come true,” writes Evelyn Morgan, winner of the children’s age group in the Library’s Spill the Ink Poetry Contest. Last week, the community gathered for the much anticipated poetry reading. Poems of hope, healing, struggle, and self-love abounded at the culmination of the annual contest.

This year, the Library received 117 submissions from children, teen, and adult age groups from March through April, and on Thursday, April 27, over one hundred attendees filled Leighton Auditorium to hear their community spill the ink. Pam Blair, owner of The Poetry Den started the night by reading a selection of her own works before participants of all ages read their poems. Nine winners were announced for three age groups.

2023 winners

Children (0-11)
Winner: Evelyn Morgan, Dandelion Wishes
Runner-up: Marjane Searl, Winter
Runner-up: Bren Swanson, Bren Loves Herself

Teens (12-18)
Winner: Anonymous, At the end of the day I hold a scale
Runner-up: Leia, Recovery
Runner-up: Rowan Kramer, Pages filled with blotted ink

Adults (19+)
Winner: Lisa Guedea Carreño, Spring Lament
Runner-up: David Palmer, Snow Clouds and Wet Leaves (A Creek Song)
Runner-up: Anita Grady, You are Lavender

Community members who are interested in sharing their works are encouraged to participate in SJCPL Writes this Fall, and next year’s Spill the Ink Poetry Contest.

Special thanks to Pam Blair from The Poetry Den for reading a selection of her own works

Evelyn Morgan

Rowan and Fiona Kramer

Madeline Cashore

South Bend teen organizes climate change awareness art exhibit at Main Library

By: Marenda Escobar

Meet seventh grader Rebecca Wagman, nonprofit owner and advocate for climate change awareness. Through her non-profit, Art for Climate South Bend, Wagman organized an art exhibit at Main Library that features the work of students ages 3-14 from ten local schools. The exhibit aims to raise awareness of the devastation of climate change, and the voices and hopes of young people.

The climate change awareness art exhibit is an immersive experience. Upon entering the smART box at Main Library, visitors will see multiple pieces of art spanning wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. The artwork includes drawings, paintings, collages, posters, floating displays and 3-dimensional creations made from recycled materials like plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, and CDs. The exhibit is also interactive. After viewing the art, visitors will have the chance to write down their hopes for the future on sticky notes and add them to a tree.

Wagman began reaching out to local teachers in August 2022, and started collecting art pieces for the exhibit in February 2023. With the help of family, Wagman put together the exhibit in the smART box at Main Library in April. The art exhibit opened to the public on Earth Day, April 22, 2023 where community members gathered to view the art and speak to Wagman.

Wagman has long been passionate about bringing awareness to climate change. She was inspired by young climate activist Greta Thunberg when she read No One is Too Small to Make a Difference. Reflecting on the exhibit, Wagman says the art is like a quilt, where many hands come together. “There is something quite spectacular about seeing messages on climate change made by young people. It proves that even the young understand, perhaps with more clarity than some adults, the devastation of climate change.” – Rebecca Wagman, 7th Grade.

Visit the climate change awareness art exhibit and experience the work of many local students in the smART box at Main Library by May 20.

Library partners with South Bend Symphony Orchestra to offer free tickets

The St. Joe County Public Library is once again partnering with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra to provide community members up to six (6) free tickets to performances in the Jack M. Champaigne Masterworks Series 2023 Season.

Patrons who are interested in the Symphony tickets can register online, and indicate how many tickets they would like. Names will be randomly selected through an electronic drawing three weeks before the performance. Tickets will be held at the Morris Performing Arts Center Box Office or the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (depending on the performance location), and there will be nothing to pick up at the Library. 

Future concerts and information will be posted on the Library’s website on the Discovery Pass page.


  • Patrons may request any number of tickets up to six, and must list the name(s) of all attendees.
  • All patrons are limited to one concert per season, so that the maximum number of people can experience the Symphony.
  • The Discovery Pass designated seats are on the main floor of the Morris Performing Arts Center, and handicap-accessible seating is available.
  • If you are selected and are unable to attend the concert, please contact the Library ( or 574-282-4646) as soon as possible, so that the next winner can be selected and notified. A notice of two weeks is kindly requested, if at all possible.

If you have any questions please email the St. Joe County Public Library at

“When I say South Bend” and more 574 Stories

“When I say South Bend, I mean my South Bend,” says Lily Francis, a sophomore and young poet. Lily Francis is one of twelve local high school students who were invited to participate in 574 Stories, a five-day intensive creative writing workshop led by the South Bend Community School Corporation at Studio 304 at Main Library. 

574 Stories aimed to empower young writers and share “diverse voices and perspectives.” Participating students studied literature, took field trips to several South Bend landmarks, including Studio 304 at Main Library, and wrote stories about their homes, families, and life in South Bend (South Bend Community School Corporation). Stories from the twelve students were published in an anthology titled, 574 Stories, and students shared their stories at a special reading and celebration at the Brown Community Learning Center in September.

Lily Francis, young poet and author of a few 574 Stories including “When I Say South Bend” shared her powerful story with us on social media. Lily Francis reads,

“When I say South Bend
I mean my South Bend
I mean the Public Schools Unite sign on that front yard
Pride flags and Black Lives Matter
I mean the Mulberry trees that birthe fruit for the summer
I mean the Morning Man on West Washington

When I say South Bend
I mean the geese
And I mean all of them
I mean the Taquería lady on Western Avenue
And the kids down the street screaming across the front lawn in swim trunks
And the white lady in early spring
Looking to see if the seeds she planted
Have grown since then”

These unique perspectives on life in South Bend and several other 574 Stories are available at each of the Library’s branches in South Bend.


  • Garvey, Monica. “High School Students Take Part in New ‘574 Stories’ Project.” HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TAKE PART IN NEW “574 STORIES” PROJECT, June 22, 2022.
  • “SBCSC High School Students Launch ‘574 Stories’ Anthology with Public Reading and Reception,” September 23, 2022. South Bend Community School Corporation. 

Kindness Machine comes to the Library

Sponsored by Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, the Kindness Machine will be at Main Library October 17 to 23, 2022. The Kindness Machine is a vending machine fully-stocked with actionable kindness prompts and will be in South Bend for the month of October.

The Kindness Machine will debut during South Bend’s Best. Week. Ever. at the Morris 100 Fest on Friday, September 30. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. on Friday and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. The event concludes at 11:00 p.m. on both days. The machine will remain at the Morris through October 9 before making stops throughout Downtown South Bend. 

You can visit The Kindness Machine at the following locations:

  1. Morris Performing Arts Center | September 30-October 9
  2. Howard Park | October 10-October 16
  3. St. Joseph County Public Library-Main Branch | October 17-October 23
  4. Notre Dame Federal Credit Union-Downtown South Bend Branch | October 24-October 30

Join our community in spreading a little kindness each and every day.

Community comes together to celebrate el Día de los Muertos

Community comes together to celebrate el Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an annual Mexican celebration where families reunite with their departed loved ones. Each year between November 1 and 2, the dead are believed to visit the earth, and families will celebrate with special traditions, including preparing ofrendas (offerings) for the deceased, cooking their loved one’s favorite meals, decorating calaveras (sugar skulls) and the graves of their dead (Day of the Dead). 

The city of South Bend is home to a growing Hispanic population, and this year, several local organizations have joined forces to organize a multi-day celebration of Día de los Muertos. This community-wide celebration is open to all and will feature a variety of special performances including:

  • October 8-10 – West Side Story performed by the South Bend Civic Theater and South Bend Symphony Orchestra.
  • October 30 – (Free) Concert at the Morris Performing Arts Center, 3-5 p.m.. The South Bend Symphony Orchestra will perform works by Latinx composers. Folklorico dancers and special guest artists Vanessa Alonzo and Trio Chapultepec will also perform.
  • October 31 – Performance at the Indiana University South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center.
  • November 1 – Performance at La Casa de Amistad.

Tickets to the October 30 performance at the Morris Performing Arts Center may be acquired for free online through the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. The St. Joe County Public Library will also have a limited number of free tickets, which patrons can pick up at the Día de los Muertos Storytime at Main Library.

The Library will also have opportunities for the community to learn about Día de los Muertos and Hispanic culture. A Día de los Muertos book display will be available at Main Library and every branch, and Main will host a bilingual Día de los Muertos Storytime on October 14 at 10:30 a.m. In consultation with La Casa de Amistad, the Library is creating ofrendas to honor authors and performers of Mexican descent, such as Frida Kahlo, Emilio Delgado, Diego Rivera, Selena Quintanilla Pérez and Cesar Chavez.

The Library’s Western branch serves a large Hispanic population and is home to various resources and programs for the community.  “We are excited for our annual Celebración de la Herencia Hispana at the Western Branch Library on September 22 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m.” explains Leah Steinhiser, the branch manager at Western. “Our celebration showcases the talents of our community partners, including a performance by Tierra Viva Mexican Folkloric Dance Group, and a talavera tile station hosted by Diana Palomo from The Pigeon and The Hen Pottery.” The branch will have crafts and games, including, la loteria, a traditional game of chance, similar to bingo. The branch usually hosts la loteria at least once a month. “We love having our volunteer, Olga Jimenez, come call cards for us!” 

“In addition to Spanish-language books and magazines, we offer a digital tutoring platform, Brainfuse HelpNow, that offers free, live tutoring in Spanish. Many small business owners are excited to learn that they can get help with design[ing] logos and banner printing at Studio 304, and patrons love our free tax assistance, available in Spanish.” Please join the Library in these community events and celebrations, and get your free ticket to the October 30 Día de los Muertos performance at the Morris Performing Arts Center. 

El Día de los Muertos is generously sponsored by Shein Trust with additional support provided by the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, the South Bend Civic Theatre, the Morris Performing Arts Center, La Casa de Amistad, the South Bend Community School Corporation, the South Bend Community School Corporation Alumni Association, the St. Joe County Public Library and ALoft Hotels. 

Want to be in the know with the latest library news?