Autumn in Indiana

Autumn officially begins September 22, 2016.  Autumn is an exceptionally busy time of year for many Hoosiers.  As summer ends and local farmers begin harvesting their crops, many communities throughout the state hold annual festivals in order to have one last celebration before the winter cold sets in.

To locate a festival near you, visit

The Indiana State Library – the ideal place for historical research!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Indiana State Library is ideal place for historical research; whether is the genealogist researching family history, the entrepreneur using the State Data Center resources to determine the best location to place a business, or the college student writing a research paper, the State Library will have materials to fit their needs!

Recently a group of students from IUPUI taking a class, the “Nature of History” came to the library to find and use primary source material. The class examines what history is, historical interpretation, some of the common problems in doing research, and the uses of history. This class first visited the Indiana State Museum and looked at the exhibit Indiana in 200 Objects. They were to identify an object that was interesting to them. Their next task was to come to the library and using the Indianapolis newspaper card index, find an article about that object or event. Using the newspapers on microfilm, print or save article and write a short research papers incorporating the newspaper sources.

For their second assignment, each student looked at something from the library’s manuscript collection; a letter, account book, photograph, or broadside. They were to determine how to use the material in their research, looking for the historical clues one can find in this type of source.

After an hour and a half work, most of the students left with a better understanding of different types of primary source material and the intricacies of using the collections at a major research library.

The staff at the Indiana State Library performs this type of instruction on a daily basis, but usually with individual researchers. Having a large group of students was an exciting and rewarding experience for us all!

Vision Expo 10th Anniversary

Indiana Vision Expo

The Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Indiana Vision Expo on Saturday, September 24th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Indiana State Library. The Expo will feature a wide variety of vendors and non-profit agencies that provide the latest in adaptive technology, independent living aids, and other resources for all ages. In celebration of the anniversary, the first 200 attendees will receive tote bags with the Vision Expo logo. You can also register to win either an iPad or a Victor Reader Stream at the Talking Book booth in the Great Hall. Registration will be limited to one per attendee.  Bottled water and light snacks will be provided.

Our program will include a 10:30 presentation on Assistive Technology: Past, Present, and Future by Bill Powell from Bosma Enterprises, followed by an 11:45 presentation on the Latest Advancements in the Treatment of Eye Disease by low vision specialists Dr. Richard Windsor and Dr. Laura Windsor of the Low Vision Centers of Indiana.

Parking will be available for $5 in the Senate Avenue Parking Garage. The entrance is off of New York Street between West Street and Senate Avenue.

For up to date information on the vendors participating in the 2016 Indiana Vision Expo, please visit our website as the event approaches at


Get ready to celebrate Family History Month by stopping in at the Indiana State Library for some family history research! Many folks start preparing for the holidays by shopping and decorating.  Others get ready to hang out with family members by jumping on their genealogy research.  Whether you need to pick up where you left off, or you need to get started, October is a great month to do just that; and, the Indiana State Library has the resources to help you!


Online subscription databases, family histories, indices to county records, and cemetery books are just some of the resources we have available to get you going on your research.


So, if you’d like to get ready for the holidays and prepare for some family time by doing some genealogy research, we’d love it if you’d include us in your plans by stopping in during Family History Month to take advantage of our many resources. Actually, any month is a great month for that!

This blog post was written by Stephanie Asberry, Genealogy Collection Supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Genealogy Division at (317)232-3689 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at

Recently added: Cram Map Company donation

The Indiana State Library has an interesting collection, there is no doubt. It has recently gotten all the more interesting by the generous donation of William Douthit.  The donation consists of atlases and globes made by the George F. Cram Company.  Cram was a long standing Indianapolis company.  It has occupied manufacturing and office space at many locations in the city: 32 East Georgia Street, 730 East Washington Street, and 301 South LaSalle St.

The Cram Company was established in Evanston, Illinois in 1867, as Blanchard & Cram. In 1921 George F. Cram retired and sold his company, merging it with the National Map Company.  The Cram name endured and they moved to Indianapolis.

The Douthit family owned and ran the George F Cram Company since 1966 when Loren Douthit became president of the company. Loren Douthit began working at Cram in 1937.  Pictured below are William, Loren, and John Douthit.  William, pictured left, worked at the George F.  Cram Company for 43 years, becoming CEO and Chairman of the Board in 1996.

Under Douthit leadership the Cram Company specialized in educational map products and globes. Included in this donation are globes, company catalogs, and many interesting atlases.  Let’s take a look at some of the items…

Cram Globes:

The Black Ocean Globe (circa 1960), illuminated

Cram Imperial 12” Antique Globe, circa 1971, mounted on wood base to house an atlas

Cram Blue Physical – Political Sun Ray Globe, “tuffy” globe ball, with sun ray and calendar base to tell time and seasons world-wide, circa 1972

Cram Catalogs: This donation has added new Cram company catalogs to the Indiana State Library trade catalog collection.  Manufacturing and product catalogs are a great resource for collectors and company researchers.  We are always accepting donations of catalogs from Hoosier manufactures, so keep us in mind as you run across such items!

Special editions highlighting the company’s longevity and progress:


Ready for some football?

Football season is upon us! High schools, universities and professional teams are all cramming in their last preseason practices and making tweaks to their lineups in anticipation of a grueling autumn.  The NCAA season begins on August 26th while the NFL’s big opening game pitting Denver against Carolina will kickoff Thursday, September 8th.


The Indiana State Library has many materials documenting football in Indiana. In addition to souvenir programs, season schedules and many issues of Sports Illustrated (from 1954-2009), the library possesses several books on the history of the sport, from biographies of such legends as Knute Rockne and Peyton Manning to early instructional manuals from the 1920s.

You can search ISL’s catalog for materials on football at


Meet the New Public Library Directors

New Director Workshop Attendees

On August 16th, 15 new public library directors attended the New Director Workshop presented by the Indiana State Library’s Library Development Office.  The class of 2016, comprised of directors from all corners of the state, left with knowledge, leadership and management information that they can apply to their daily duties.  

The workshop was hosted by Karen Ainslie and Jen Clifton and covered policies, board relations, library funding, and laws. New this year, guest presenters were invited to speak on budgeting, additional appropriations, and employment policies.  These speakers included Beka Lemons (Huntington City Township Public Library), Sandra Petrie (Noble County Public Library), and Jamie Scott (North Madison County Public Library System). Additionally, participants learned about other Indiana State Library services, including Evergreen, the State Library’s Attorney, Children’s Services, and the Talking Books and Braille Library. 

Though it was a packed 7-hour day, the directors had the opportunity to visit with each other and tour the State Library. They each left with new colleagues and the knowledge of where to find the information they need as they grow in their careers.



The Difference is You: Your Service Matters

 On August 10th, 147 library support staff professionals from 27 counties from as far north as Lake and LaPorte to as far south as Vanderburgh attended the Difference is You Conference. This year we were excited to have our first ‘Your Service Matters’ award winner, Duane Herendeen from the Warsaw Community Public Library.  We were pleased to host and honor all those on the front lines and in the background who work hard every day in and for Indiana libraries. The day was full of training; there was a total of 15 sessions to choose from in five breakout sessions.  There were opportunities for networking, making new friends, and building new relationships.    We began with an inspiring message from Shanika Heyward, Branch Manager, of the Indianapolis Public Library’s East 38th Street branch.  She shared her story about how she began her career as an intern within the Indianapolis Public Library system to building a philanthropic collection without library school training!  We had welcome messages from the Indianapolis Public Library’s CEO, Jackie Nytes; State Librarian, Jacob Speer; and ILF Executive Director, Lucinda Nord.   Attendees that completed the follow-up survey made the following comments:

Jacob Speer, Indiana State Librarian

Jacob Speer, Indiana State Librarian

“I enjoyed most of the speakers, how well organized the event was, and the fantastic library in which it was held. I learned a lot in my day there and would love to attend more conferences in the future.” 

 “The fact that staff are respected and have their own conference.”

 “The location. What a cool library! The variety of sessions, especially where technology is concerned, was great! Shanika Hayward was simply inspiring!” 

Great speakers and info. The speakers were well-prepared and they definitely knew their stuff.”

If you didn’t attend this year, we hope you’ll think of attending 2017! If you are interested in presenting or have an idea for topics, please be on the lookout for a call for program proposals from the Professional Development Committee.

Submitted by:

Kimberly Brown-Harden, Northwest Regional Coordinator
Professional Development Office
Indiana State Library

Collection Highlight: 1930s Indiana State Fair Broadsides

As we recover from the crush and hubbub of this year’s Indiana State Fair (not to mention snarfing all those elephant ears and fried pickles), take a gander at a few gems from the fairs of the early 1930s in the Indiana State Library’s broadside collection.

The 1930 and 1931 Indiana State Fair broadsides (sheets of paper printed on one side, often mass-produced for wide dissemination, such as posters) were simple but vibrant, using only two colors in addition to black and very little text. The subjects, a rooster and a farmer with his scythe, demonstrate the original intent behind state fairs as primarily agricultural exhibitions.

But like the fairs nowadays, those of the early 20th century featured many of the traditional entertainment staples we have today: Ferris wheels, cotton candy, and contests. The fairs of old just did it on a smaller scale. (Those in the 1930s only lasted about a week. Inconceivable!) Here are two broadsides from 1931 and 1932, respectively, announcing specific activities at the fair—the horse show and racing.

Better Babies

The last broadside is from the Better Baby Contest at the 1930 state fair. While friendly competition is a longstanding tradition at all fairs, the Better Baby Contest at the Indiana State Fair, and others across the nation, represented something altogether more sinister. Between 1920 and 1932, white mothers entered their babies and toddlers in the contest, where the children were weighed, measured, and judged for mental and physical health using baby growth charts (which were later criticized as oversimplified and inaccurate). Those children rated the best were awarded ribbons and prizes, rather like livestock and baked goods. Although on the surface, the contest encouraged parents to take maternal health and early childhood development more seriously, in reality, the competition was fraught with the pseudo-science, racism, and ideology of the eugenics movement.

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you, let’s think back on all the fun we’ve had at the state fair over the past 17 days. This year’s highlights included:

  • Riding the Tilt-A-Whirl to the point of nausea and (hopefully) no further;
  • Cheering on 4-H barrel riders;
  • Gawking at the World’s Largest Male Hog;
  • Cooing over the fluffy rabbits and baby chicks;
  • Inhaling a delicious sundae from Hook’s Drug Store;
  • Gazing at glowing hot-air balloons sailing the night sky;
  • Learning something new about Indiana history on the Indiana Bicentennial Train; and
  • Bidding farewell to the fair— until next year!

All these broadsides and more are publicly available online. This collection and many others continue to grow, so be sure to check back from time to time to see the newest additions to the ISL Digital Collections, found at

This blog post was written by Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian Brittany Kropf. For more information, contact the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division at (317) 232-3671 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at

The Talking Book Repair Group – Fort Wayne

We recently had the opportunity to visit the new home of the Talking Book Repair Group in Fort Wayne. The group, which repairs all of the digital talking book players used by patrons of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library, recently found themselves looking for a new home when the old General Electric plant in Fort Wayne closed its doors. The group, which was originally one of many Elfun Societies around the county made of of GE retirees, reached out to the Allen County Public Library about a possible new space for their work. Generously, the library found space in the library services center.

With a grant from the Indiana State Library Foundation, a space was created for the Talking Book Repair Group. The space needed plumbing for cleaning machines and lots of outlets to charge batteries and test players before sending them back out to patrons around the state.

The maintenance of talking book machines is an integral part of our ability to provide the best service possible to our patrons. Already in their new home they have repaired hundreds of players for us and for other Talking Book libraries in the country. We look forward to them repairing thousands more players for us in the future.

Here is a video produced by Access Fort Wayne detailing the Talking Book Repair volunteers’ move from GE to the Allen County Public Library.