Lake County Public Library direct mail to non-card holders case study

Today we welcome guest blogger Jennifer Burnison of the Lake County Public Library

In the fall of 2016, the Lake County Public Library (LCPL) wanted to reach out to community members who did not have a library card. We believed if we promoted our digital library services to the 25-39 year old community, we would see more individuals in this age range sign up for a library card and then proceed to use the library’s digital resources. This age range is defined by young professionals and young parents who feel they do not have time to use traditional library services, but we believed they would be eager to use our digital library. LCPL wanted to send postcards to this group promoting the digital library, along with instructions on how to sign up for a library card remotely, but we weren’t sure how to identify individuals in this age range who did not have a library card.

We overcame this issue by using Patronlink, a powerful library marketing, analytics and outreach tool that allows libraries to analyze and communicate with patrons and non-patrons alike. LCPL was able to upload and flag their current patrons’ records in Patronlink’s database of over 270 million individuals. Using the filter tools, we narrowed the file down to our service area and selected individuals who were 25-39 years old. Finally, we omitted current patrons from the list, giving us a list of all the 25-39 year-olds in our service area who did not have library cards.

Lake County Public Library

Taking it one step further, we wondered if the income levels of these individuals affected their desire to use digital services. We knew our service area covered two zip codes with similar populations, but with divergent income levels. LCPL decided to only send postcards to the individuals aged 25-39 in these two zip codes and look at the key performance indicator (KPI) to see which sample had more individuals sign up for library cards.

The postcards were printed in-house and were mailed out at the end of September 2016. Around 3,000 postcards were mailed out using the post office’s bulk mail rate of $0.175 per postcard, for a total of approximately $525. Statistics were then gathered at the beginning of November 2016.

LCPL postcard sample

LCPL proactively flagged the records of individuals who received a postcard, so when we re-uploaded our patron list we would be able to quickly identify the individuals who had both a “sent post card” flag and a patron flag. After analyzing the results, we determined 1.8 percent of households who received a postcard signed up for a library card, while some households had multiple people sign up for cards. We consider this a successful direct mail campaign, as a response rate of two percent is expected for these types of mailings. As for differing income levels, there was no statistical difference in the number of library card sign-ups in relation to income levels; everyone enjoys low-cost or no-cost options.

For more information about the LCPL’s case study, contact Robin Johnsen, the library’s technology marketing specialist at rjohnsen@lcplin.org.

Jennifer Burnison is the marketing manager for the Lake County Public Library. For more information about the Lake County Public Library, contact Jennifer at jburnison@lcplin.org.

Finding Indiana birth, marriage and death records online

Birth, marriage and death records form the core of genealogical research. They document the basic facts of a person’s life and familial relationships. However, finding these records can be difficult, particularly as one traces one’s family farther and farther into the past. With that in mind, here are a few pointers to help you find your ancestors’ vital and marriage records:

  1. Know what records are available

Birth certificate of Bernece Tipps, 1908. “Indiana Birth Certificates, 1907-1940,” Ancestry Library Edition. Accessed January 17, 2017.

Indiana did not issue birth and death certificates until 1882 and such records were not mandatory or collected at the state level until 1907. So, before 1882, there are no government-issued certificates recording these life events.

Under Indiana law, birth records are not available to the public for 75 years to protect privacy and identity. If you need a more recent record, see the Indiana State Department of Health Vital Records division for information on how to proceed. If you are researching birth records pertinent to an adoption, see the Indiana State Department of Health for more information on obtaining records.

Marriage records, on the other hand, were issued in each county from the establishment of that county. Because couples could not get married without a marriage license, these records tend to be complete all the way back to 1816 and even a bit before that in certain counties.

  1. Know where to find records

Death certificate of Violet Edwards Commer, 1959. “Indiana Death Certificates, 1899-2011,” Ancestry Library Edition. Accessed January 17, 2017.

Birth and death records are available at the health department in each county as well as the Indiana State Department of Health (1907 forward). There is a small fee to obtain a copy, but a non-certified “genealogical copy” is usually cheaper and sufficient for genealogy purposes.

Marriage records are available at the clerk of court’s office in each county and also at the Indiana State Department of Health (1958 forward). Once again, there is a small fee for copies as well as the option for a non-certified copy.

If you need a copy of your own records, you will need to contact the county where the records were issued. The county of issuance is the only office permitted to certify a record.

  1. Know what research aids are available

Marriage record of Abraham Michael and Winna Smith, 1845. “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” Family Search. Accessed January 17, 2017.

There are a number of databases online that have indexes or full digital images of birth, marriage, and death records. Some are available for free, while others require a subscription or a visit to a library with an institutional subscription.

Database Title Date Range Record Type Source Availability Coverage
Indiana Birth Certificates 1907-1940 Full records Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Statewide
Indiana Births 1882-1920 Index Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
67/92 counties
Indiana Death Certificates 1899-2011 Full records Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Statewide
Indiana Death Index 1882-1920 Index FamilySearch Online 67/92 counties
Indiana Deaths 1882-1920 Index Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
67/92 counties
Indiana Marriages 1810-2001 Full records Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Not statewide
Indiana Marriages 1811-2007 Full records FamilySearch Online Not statewide
Indiana Marriage Certificates 1958-2005 Full records Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Not statewide
Indiana Marriages 1780-1992 Index FamilySearch Online Not statewide
Indiana Marriage Index 1800-1941 Index Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Not statewide
Indiana Marriages Early 1800s-1850 Index Indiana State Library Online Statewide
Indiana Compiled Marriages 1802-1892 Index Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Not statewide
Indiana Marriages 1958-2013 Index Indiana State Library Online Statewide
Marriage License Public Lookup 1993-present Index Indiana Office of Judicial Administration Online Statewide

A list of these databases is also available as a downloadable PDF on the Indiana State Library’s Indiana County Research Guides page.

This blog post is by Jamie Dunn, genealogy librarian. For more information, contact the Genealogy Division at (317) 232-3689 or send us a question through Ask-a-Librarian.

Indiana cookbooks and gastronomical morsels

Over the years, the Indiana State Library’s Indiana Collection has come to include many unique cookbooks, usually with some sort of Hoosier connection. While browsing the closed stacks, the titles of three cookbooks caught my interest. It is useful to mention that the word “receipts” is old terminology for what we now call recipes. So if you are ever searching library catalogs, digitized newspapers or online materials for old recipes, you might want to try “receipts” as a keyword instead.

Published in 1876, “The Household Friend; A Practical Domestic Guide for Home Comfort” by Mrs. S. C. Jennings, includes cooking receipts, medical remedies and housekeeping hints. Mrs. Jennings of Lafayette, Ind. wrote that the receipts (recipes) included had been thoroughly tested by both herself and her friends. The pie crust and custard pie recipes were from Mrs. Jennings’ personal collection.

Sadly, the publisher included an obituary notice stating that the author died shortly after completing the book. Mrs. Jennings’ memorial and a photo of her tombstone appears on Find-A-Grave.

The next cookbook even uses the term “receipts” in its title. “Brides’ Favorite Receipts: Indianapolis” was published around 1909 by the Glisco Company and a complimentary copy was presented to each new bride in Marion County by Leonard Quill the County Clerk. The introduction explains that the merchants of Indianapolis took out paid advertisements in the book, with some even including coupons in the back. The state library’s copy came as a donation, and consequently, some of the coupons were used. After the recipes, other household cleaning hints are included, such as how to make ostrich plumes fluffy.

The title alone of the last book was intriguing. “The Stag Cook Book, Written for Men by Men” was compiled by Carroll Mac Sheridan in 1922. It includes favorite recipes from notable American men including Indiana author, politician and diplomat Meredith Nicholson. I wanted to find out a bit more about the book and consequently discovered The New York Herald’s Books and Magazine section on Nov. 5, 1922 carried a review of “The Stag Cook Book” entitled “Justifiable Homicide.” While the title of the review refers more to the introductory pages than to the recipes, the reader is left to question if the book is meant for humor or for serious cookery. The entire book was digitized from the New York Public Library’s copy and can be viewed on Google Books. I’ll let you decide if it’s a real cookbook or not.

While these cookbooks are much different than the slick photo-laden volumes that celebrity chefs publish today, the three are certainly noteworthy for their historical context. Anyone can virtually search and browse the Indiana Collection through the state library’s online catalog.

This blog post was written by Indiana Division Librarian Andrea Glenn. For more information, contact the Indiana Division at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

State library staff meet Governor Holcomb

On Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, staff from the Indiana State Library met Indiana’s 51st Governor, Eric Holcomb. After learning he was an American Civil War buff, Associate Director of Public Services Connie Bruder, Rare Books and Manuscripts Supervisor Bethany Fiechter and Rare Books and Manuscripts Program Coordinator Laura Eliason presented a Civil War carte de visite album commissioned by Governor Oliver P. Morton.

Bethany Fiechter shows Governor Holcomb a Civil War carte de visite album commissioned by Governor Oliver P. Morton.

The Governor Oliver P. Morton Civil War Soldiers Photograph Collection (P001) includes three carte de visite albums to perpetuate the remembrance of Indiana regiment officers. The portraits are arranged alphabetically by last name with notations indicating the name, rank, regiment and, if applicable, place of death.

L to R: Bethany Fiechter, Governor Holcomb, Laura Eliason and Connie Bruder.

For more information about Governor Oliver P. Morton, view our finding aid here. Interested in more Civil War photographs? The Rare Books and Manuscripts Division has made available over 80 photographs here.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

Who is in charge at the public library?

Most public library patrons are familiar with the friendly people behind the reference desk, who help track down books and answer questions, and the smiling circulation clerks who make sure you get your “Harry Potter” holds. Occasionally, you might come into contact with the library director. You’ve almost certainly seen the director speak at a public, library-related event. Behind the scenes, however, there is a library board responsible for the governance of the library. The library board oversees the finance, policy and planning activities at the library. They also hire the library director, who keeps the board informed on finance, policy, planning and day-to-day operations.

How are these public library boards appointed? In Indiana, the library boards are appointed, not elected. In most cases, there are seven appointees, but four county contractual libraries have eleven member boards. Elected official bodies in the library district are in charge of appointments. For example, school boards appoint library board members.

Each public library has three board members appointed by the school authorities in the district. The next two board member appointments are selected by county authorities, such as council members or commissioners. Finally, the last two appointments, rounding out the seven-member board, vary based on the territorial composition of the library district. For example, the appointing authorities may be determined based upon whether the library is in one city or one township.

Board members serve for four year terms and the terms can be renewed, but they can serve no longer than 16 years. There are exceptions to this rule for the smallest of library districts where it can be difficult to find people to serve.

This is all covered in the Indiana Code IC 36-12 found here. The code also covers Indiana laws that guide the library board’s governance. For instance, the treasurer of the library board is the only paid board member, whereas all other board members receive no compensation.

I applaud the dedication of the appointed board members who work with library directors to provide library services to the Indiana community.

This blog post was written by Karen Ainslie, Library Development Librarian and Professional Development Office librarian. For more information, contact the Library Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or email statewideservices@library.in.gov.

2017 Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award ballot announced

As the co-director of the Indiana Center for the Book (with the esteemed Christy Franzman of the Indiana Young Readers Center as the other co-director), I delight every January in working with other members of the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Committee to finalize the ballot for the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award. In its third year, the Firefly Award strives to present a balanced ballot of high quality picture books that appeal to our youngest book enthusiasts; children ages 0-5.

This year, I’m particularly excited that two books by Indiana authors are included: “Race Car Count” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and “Best in Snow” by April Pulley Sayre. Both these books are quintessentially Indiana in two very different ways. Dotlich’s counting concept book covers the exciting Indy-centric topic of motor sports, while never directly stating anything specific to the Indy 500. A fun addition is the back matter, where she introduces the reader to her cast of characters, a remarkably diverse cast, considering they are race cars. Sayre’s book, the only nonfiction book on the list, is illustrated by crisp photographs of Indiana wildlife and landscapes draped, frosted and dusted with snow. “Best in Snow” continues Sayre’s work of introducing science and nature concepts to young children in rhyming chant.

Along with the two Indiana books, the 2017 Firefly ballot is rounded out by animals, music and interactivity. “Grumpy Pants” by Claire Messer shows children that even if they wake up feeling grumpy, they can be the boss of their own emotions and take actions to turn their feelings around. “Don’t Wake Up Tiger!” by Britta Teckentrup is an invitation to interactive play, as children are invited to pet, stroke and sooth Tiger to keep her asleep. “Music Class Today!” by David Weinstone is the most diverse book on the list, picturing a mustachioed male guitar player leading a group of racially-diverse children and their care-givers in a rousing session of music class complete with rhythm and repetition.

I want to encourage libraries in Indiana to collect these five books, present them to children ages 0-5, and their caregivers, and give the children a chance to vote on their favorite. Voting information can be found here and can be done in a variety of ways. Some libraries create little voting booths for this program and others just have the children vote by a show of hands.

All library systems in Indiana will receive 15 copies of the ballot courtesy of TeachingBooks.net and are welcome to make more copies as needed or to print off additional copies of the ballot from the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award website. TeachingBooks.net has also partnered with us to collect some resources for each book to assist in programming and sharing.

It’s an exciting time for the Firefly Award! Now begins the long wait through spring to see which book will win.

Submitted by Suzanne Walker, supervisor of the Professional Development Office at the Indiana State Library and co-director of the Indiana Center for the Book.

Happy New Year, guest blogs and the future

Do you fancy yourself the next Perez Hilton? Well, this post probably isn’t for you then. However, if you are an Indiana library employee and you would like to write a guest blog post for the Indiana State Library’s blog, the floor is all yours.

Is your library opening an awesome new lab? Are you booking a big-time guest presenter? Would you like to illustrate the day-to-day operations of your bookmobile? Have you successfully executed a social media campaign? I want to hear from you. Because libraries cover such a wide range of duties, the possibilities are endless.

The state library is unique in the fact that we provide services to state government employees, house very specialized collections and help develop and train librarians all over the state. Therefore, we don’t necessarily function in the same way a traditional public library functions. Of course, we are opened to the public, and provide some of the best genealogy and Indiana-related resources in the state, but we’ve never suffered a mad rush when a new “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” or “Hunger Games” book was released. Our friends a few blocks away at the Indianapolis Public Library are the experts when it comes to handling popular new fiction releases.

As the communications director here at the state library, moving forward, I’d like to offer libraries from all over the state a chance to have their say. We’ll also be highlighting more of what the state library does in this blog, by featuring blog posts from members of our Professional Development Office (PDO) and Library Development Office (LDO) in addition to continuing to bring you posts by all of our divisions, such as genealogy, rare books and manuscripts and talking books and Braille.

So, if you have a topic you’d like to cover that appeals to other librarians, library patrons or both, feel free to get in touch with your idea via the email address below. Just remember, no celebrity gossip.

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director at communications@library.in.gov.

DNR and Indiana State Library extend park pass program

The Indiana State Library (ISL) and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have agreed to extend the Annual Parks Pass Program for one more year. The passes will be sent to libraries as soon as they arrive in January.

Indiana Dunes State Park

ISL is thrilled to partner with DNR to continue to offer this program. ISL is purchasing one pass for each public library in every library district. Passes are limited to one pass per building and libraries may purchase additional passes through the DNR site for individual branches. The passes are non-transferable and DNR is again allowing libraries exceptions for these passes.

The passes can be checked out by library patrons and will provide access to Indiana’s 32 state parks and also to Indiana’s state forest recreation areas where entrance fees are charged.

This year, DNR would like libraries help to get direct feedback from the users of the passes. A user survey will be posted on ISL’s site so that libraries may print as needed. Libraries should send completed surveys to Wendy Knapp through InfoExpress throughout the year.

For more information on Indiana State Parks, please visit the DNR’s state parks page.

New exhibit! Decorating your home

Are you aware of the Indiana State Library’s massive collection of rare books, state and federal documents, Indiana history and genealogical material? There’s truly something for everyone – and for me, it’s an assortment of interior design, “how-to” books and advertisements and building samples, spanning from 1920-1960.

Our latest Rare Books and Manuscripts exhibit features a standard edition of the Munsell Book of Color created by the Munsell Color Firm in 1929. The Munsell color system was created by Professor Albert H. Munsell and is based on three color dimensions: hue, value (lightness) and chroma (color purity). The color of any surface can be identified by comparing it to the chips under proper viewing conditions.

ISL – [Cage] ISLM 752 M969m – Cage General Books

A Dictionary of Colours for Interior Decoration will also be on display. Developed by the British Colour Council in 1949, this volume was published to provide clarity and standardization of design work, specifically application to carpets, curtains and upholstery fabric, and in the making of paint or other materials used in decorating. The guide includes 378 colors displayed on three surfaces, including matte, gloss and fabric.

ISL – [Cage] ISLM 535.6 B862D – Cage General Books

Interested in Indiana furniture design during the 1960s? Several Tell City Chair Company catalogs are available to view. The catalogs were designed to aid the homemaker who desired a “comfortable and attractive living space.” They include a comprehensive review of Tell City’s furniture styles, the basic principles of decoration and tips on the care of furniture.

Paired with the Tell City Chair Company catalogs is one of our favorite volumes within the rare book collection titled “The American woods: exhibited by actual specimens and with copious explanatory text.” Each volume contains a booklet of descriptive text and at least 75 wood samples mounted in an estimated 25 plates. The featured specimen includes a transverse section, a radial section and a tangential section with Latin, English, German, French and Spanish names for maple wood.

ISL – [Cage] ISLM 634.9 H8384 – Cage General Serials

Maple wood was featured in many styles of the Tell City Chair Company, including the Young Republic Group and the Hard Rock Maple. Many of the furniture pieces are highly valued among collectors due to their fine craftsmanship and quality.

If you’re curious about building repair or home decoration supplies during the early 1920s-1950s, we have you covered! Booklets from the Louisville Wall Paper Company, Sherwin-Williams Company, Indiana Farm Bureau, Co-operative Association, Inc., Alabastine Company and the United States Rubber Company are on display, too.

ISL – John M. Smith collection (L596) – Rare Books and Manuscripts

The Rare Books and Manuscripts reading room is located on the second floor of the Indiana State Library. The interior design exhibit will be on display until the end of March.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

Video game collections in your library

Today we welcome guest blogger Eric Fisher of the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library

After doing a presentation at the Indiana Library Federation (ILF) conference this this year, I thought I’d try to answer many common questions and considerations that a collection developer might face when considering circulating video games.

First, the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library does not circulate consoles. Your average console will run you anywhere from $200 to $450, or so, and consoles do not operate like they did several years ago. They are now essentially computers with proprietary operating systems. They usually require games to be installed off of the disk and often have game patches that need to be downloaded. They are also usually tied to an individual’s game account (e.g. a PlayStation Network account or an Xbox Live account). Therefore, the console itself usually contains some level of personally identifiable user information. It would be a bit like circulating laptops to people to take home for days at a time and allowing them to be able to install software on them at their own discretion. This is not to say that you couldn’t circulate game systems, we just feel that the cost and other challenges/logistics make it more trouble than it’s worth. Just last week, however, we did purchase a PlayStation 4 (PS4) and an Xbox One S for use in the library and for programming; a practical option for us.

Video game collection at the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library

Second, we currently purchase primarily for PS4 and Xbox One, with the increasingly rare purchase of a PlayStation 3 (PS3) or an Xbox 360 title. The reason for this is that both the PS4 and Xbox One were released in November 2013, which means that PS3 and Xbox 360 systems are at the very end of their lifecycles and are getting very few new title releases now. The Nintendo Wii was replaced by the Wii U in December 2012 and the Wii U was extremely commercially disappointing with abysmal adoption rates. In fact, Nintendo is releasing their successor console, Switch, in March of 2017 partly because the Wii U was such a failure. All that being said, our collection contains PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii and a small handful of Wii U games. The games for the older systems do still circulate, so we’re not in a hurry to weed them out, but at the same time I’m interested in putting funds toward current generation games as opposed to previous generation games, especially since backward compatibility is non-existent or limited. For example, PS4 will not play PS3 games and Xbox One can only play a number of Xbox 360 titles. However, the Wii U will play Wii titles. We do not currently purchase for the Nintendo 3DS or PlayStation Vita handhelds, as their media formats are small cards, not unlike SD cards, which makes them a bit more difficult to secure. The systems we do collect for use disk-based media, so they’re very easy to secure using standard lockable cases; the type we use for DVDs. You could collect for handheld systems depending on how you plan the logistics. Some libraries do circulate handheld systems and their accompanying media.

Video game collection at the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library

Third, we collect games of all ratings. Some libraries, for example, opt not to collect games rated M (mature), which I feel is based on the misconception that “video games are for kids.” According to the 2016 Entertainment Software Association report on sales, around 75 percent of gamers are over the age of 18, with the average age of gamers being 35. An ESRB M rating is akin to the MPAA’s R rating for movies. The ESRB also has the AO (adults only) rating category, which is akin to an MPAA NC-17 rating, but just like the movie rating, you really never see any games that come out with an AO rating. Since their inception in 1994, ESRB has rated about 30 games as AO and all have been released on computer, not consoles. The report also notes that female gamers make up 41 percent of the game playing community, so it truly is a medium that is consumed by all public age and gender demographics. Our collection practices try to reflect the demographic makeup of the gaming community.

Video game collection at the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library

Finally, your collection decisions regarding title purchases and the number of formats you’ll support will rely heavily on your gaming collection budget. Games typically retail at $59.99 on release, and depending on popularity, will start to drop significantly in price over their first six months, usually settling around the $20 to $30 price point. PS4 currently dominates the console market in regards to number of titles released and number of consumers who have purchased a console, though Xbox One is a close second. Each brand has their own exclusives (e.g. Mario and Pokemon games for Nintendo) as well as versions of multi-platform titles (e.g. “Call of Duty”). I try to purchase very well-known titles/franchises at launch while waiting for less anticipated titles until the price drops a bit. It’s not unusual for the console companies to release around four “must have” titles in any given month. Some times of the year see heavier launch lists, particularly during the fourth quarter holidays. I will generally purchase those titles at launch. Additionally, many games are offered in “special editions,” as well as a “standard edition.” Most of the extra game content released exclusively in a special edition is in the form of a redeemable one use code. So, for circulation purposes, it’s usually best to purchase the standard edition. Bonus content tends to be digital downloads in the form of a code tied to the user’s game account, so it can be safely ignored. Efficient collection development of games generally requires a decent level of familiarity with the gaming landscape and the big franchises, so collections usually benefit from frequent game journalism research. That being said, big titles are often announced far in advance of release, so it’s possible to build a wish list well ahead of time and tweak it as release dates change or as previously un-hyped, but worthwhile, titles are released.

I think this post should give you a good foundation for starting a video game collection in your library. Video games have been an extremely popular collection for us. We service a community of about 8,000 people and typically our monthly game circulation is about 600. We let patrons check out up to three games at a time with a one week loan period and we allow one renewal. My budget for 2016 was about $6,000 and will be about $7,500 for 2017. You can view the documents relating to my ILF presentation here and let me know if I can answer any questions. Good luck!

Eric Fisher is the assistant director of the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library. For more information on video games in your library, contact Eric at efisher@alexlibrary.net.