The United States Presidents: Love them or hate them, we’re the ones who put them there.

On Tuesday November 8th, 2016 we have some serious choices to make when it comes to our government leaders, including the president.   This choice has been the privilege of the citizens of the United States since our county began and it is a serious one. Each president becomes a part of American history as shown in the books American Heritage Illustrated History of the Presidents: more than two centuries of American Leadership by Michael Beschloss, Our Assassinated Presidents: the true medical stories by Stewart M. Brooks, Power Play: the Bush Presidency and the Constitution by James P. Pfiffner,  and The President’s Position: Debating the issues – Presidents Reagan Through Clinton 1981 by Lane Crothers and Nancy S. Lind, which is part of a series of books on our presidents.

We have a variety of other books in our collection that may be helpful in understanding the election process. There are books on choosing our presidential nominees, such as In Pursuit of the White House 2000: How we choose our presidential nominees, Edited by William G. Mayer. There are also books on presidential campaigns, See how they ran: the Changing Role of the Presidential Candidate, by Gil Troy; Packaging the Presidency: a history and criticism of presidential campaign advertising, by Kathleen Hall Jamieson; and The past and future of presidential debates, edited by Austin Ranney.  Knowing how the system works can be the first step in making the voting process less stressful.

If you would like to know more about the election process, and individual candidates visit the Indiana Election Division website. If you need help finding your polling location visit the Indiana Voter Registration System.

As we approach the upcoming election, remember to use due diligence in researching your candidate; find out where they stand on the issues, and Get out and Vote!

By Dana Bohr, Librarian – Reference & Government Services Division


A Brief History of the United States passport

Pictured is an example of an early U.S. passport, found in the Hasselman-Blood family papers (MSS L385). The first United States passports were issued during the American Revolution. Early American passports were modeled after the French passports at the time and looked much like this example from 1873. This style was used from 1789 until 1900. This passport is slightly larger than 11 x 17 inches. On the left side, it gives a physical description of the bearer including age, height, and facial features. There is a passport number, but no explicit expiration date given. This particular passport was issued to Watson J. Hasselman of Indianapolis. This passport also boasts a large State Department watermark. 

Although the State Department issued passports beginning in 1789, states and cities were also able to issue passports to citizens until 1856. Passports not issued by the State Department, however, were not often recognized by other nations. During this period, the United States did not require a passport to enter or exit the country, but that changed at the start of U.S. involvement in World War II. Passports were not standardized until after World War I. The booklet layout that people recognize today was introduced in 1926. 

Averbach, Scott, “The History of the US Passport,” Passport Info Guide, September 13, 2014, Accessed October 12, 2016,

Woodward, Richard B., “Book Review: The Passport in America,” The New York Times, September 22, 2010, Accessed October 12, 2016,



Indiana Young Readers Center greeting team

Pictured: Stephanie Smith (Circulation), Monique Howell (Indiana), Marcia Caudell (Reference), Jocelyn Lewis (Catalog), Stephanie Asberry (Genealogy), Bethany Fiechter (Rare Books & Manuscripts)

From left to right: Stephanie Smith (Circulation), Monique Howell (Indiana), Marcia Caudell (Reference), Jocelyn Lewis (Catalog), Stephanie Asberry (Genealogy), Bethany Fiechter (Rare Books & Manuscripts)

Pictured are some of the Indiana State Library supervisors ready to welcome guests at the Indiana Young Readers Center grand opening. You know there is a library event when all the supervisors come into work wearing black.

Interview with Vicki Builta, Director of South Whitley Cleveland Township Public Library

vicki-builtaPaula Newcom, Northeast Regional Coordinator, recently visited with the new Director of the South Whitley Cleveland Township Public Library, Vicki Builta. She has worked as a school librarian for several years. In addition she has served on the Young Hoosier Book Award Picture Book Committee (2011-2013) and served as Co-Chair of YHBA from 2014-2016.

PN: Are you from the area?  If not, where are you from originally?

VB: No, I am not from the area. Until recently, I lived in Anderson, Indiana and attended Butler and Ball State Universities. I worked for the Anderson Community Schools as a school librarian for 33 years before retiring in June, 2011. I worked as Director at Daleville Community Library from August 2011 until April 2015. Then I worked in Adult Services at Tipton Public Library from April 2015 until October 2015, and became the Director at SWCPL as of November 2, 2015.

PN: What inspired you to work in libraries?

VB: Reading has always been a passion. Being able to share that passion with other literature lovers makes working in libraries an ideal job.

PN: What is your favorite thing about working for your library?

VB: I enjoy working with a great staff that strives to provide an outstanding variety of opportunities for the South Whitley community. We have a wonderful collection of materials and host amazing programs for all ages. The South Whitley Community Public Library is a local gathering place and a vital part of the area’s educational and cultural environment.

PN: What is your favorite book?

VB: I have many. Here are a few! Favorite Classic – Jane Eyre, To Kill a Mockingbird, Uncle Tom’s Cabin Favorite Juvenile Fiction – Tuck Everlasting, Echo, The Poet’s Dog Favorite YA Fiction (for right now!) – Salt to the Sea, Code Name Verity Favorite Adult Nonfiction (again, for now) – Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, H is for Hawk, The Wright Brothers, Shakespeare Saved my Life, Best. State. Ever: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland Favorite Adult Fiction (just a few…..) – A Little Life, All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, The Nest, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, Fates and Furies, Best Boy, The Marriage of Opposites, Our Souls at Night, The Martian, A Great Reckoning

PN: If you could have dinner with any three famous people in recorded history, who would they be and why?

VB: 1. Amelia Earhart – I’d love to hear her discuss her adventures and her experiences as a woman working in a field that was dominated by men. 2. Steve Jobs – I’ve read so much about him, I’d be interested to listen to him discuss his visions for technology and the future of man’s changing relationships with it. 3. Sigmund Freud – I have always been interested in psychology and what makes humans do what they do, act as they act and say what they say. It would be fascinating to explore his work with him.

PN: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

VB 1. Read!  2. Puzzles – sudoku, crossword, jigsaw, cryptograms, all sorts of word puzzles 3. Crafts  4. Travel

This blog post by Paula Newcom, Professional Development Librarian. For more information, contact the Professional Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or email

Reader Advisory Tools: What I Use

The Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library often gets calls from patrons who just want “something good” or more books like a certain author. While we are able to rely on our ILS for a lot of Reader Advisory assistance, sometimes something more is needed to satisfy patron requests. Here are some tools we use to help us satisfy those types of requests, please share any of your favorites!



The website has a great and fun feature called the blender, which is both helpful and fun to play with. The blender will let you pick your “ingredients” from a list, mix them together, and then display the results. You can blend genres such as romance and horror together or historical and science fiction. The results of the blender are displayed in an easy to read list with the book’s genres listed and links to amazon for more detailed reviews. This is a new discovery for me and I love playing with it.



Goodreads is one of my favorite websites to visit for my own personal reading habits. I love that I can keep track of what I’ve read and that I can usually find interesting lists that can help me find what I want to read next. While some of their lists are silly (I recently read H is for Hawk and was then directed to a list of books with birds on the covers) there are a lot of great ones that can help you to find similar authors or books to what you have just read. We also use Goodreads a lot to help up put proper subject headings on our books.

Literature Map


Literature Map is another Reader Advisory resource that I like playing with just to see what it will come up with. Literature Map allows you to type in the name of an author; it then creates a “map” with the most similar authors to the one you searched for displaying in the middle with results fanning out based on relevancy. This is a great resource to use for a patron who has read everything by their favorite author and is desperate to find a new but similar author to start reading.



Johnny Gruelle and Raggedy Ann

Did you know that the Indiana State Library has a collection of sheet music? We have a varied and eclectic library of scores and sheet music in our Indiana pamphlet collection.  A recent visit to James Whitcomb Riley’s Lockerbie Street home reminded me that Raggedy Ann was the brainchild of Riley’s neighbor, Johnny Gruelle, an artist who lived in Indiana during most of his childhood and early adulthood.  The red-haired doll’s name, Raggedy Ann, may have been based on the poem, “The Raggedy Man” by James Whitcomb Riley.


I found this book of songs in our Indiana pamphlet collection. Raggedy Ann’s Joyful Songs (ISLH 780.8 Gru 1) is a collaboration of Gruelle’s artwork and lyrics and music by Charles Miller, a music composer and publisher.  This is one of several collaborations between Gruelle and Miller, and the pair often worked with Will Wooden, Miller’s business partner. There were several songbooks of this type published during the 1930’s. Raggedy Ann’s Joyful Songs includes sheet music paired with cheerful pictures of Raggedy Ann and her friends.


Although Johnny Gruelle was born in Arcola, Illinois in 1880, his parents moved to Gainesville, Florida shortly after his birth. When he was two or three years old, the family moved to Indianapolis, settling a few short blocks away from Lockerbie Street, where Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley lived.  Gruelle’s father was painter, Richard Buckner (R.B.) Gruelle.  R.B. Gruelle was a well-known painter in the “Hoosier Group” of painters of the late 19th and early 20th Century.  James Whitcomb Riley was a frequent visitor to the Gruelle home, along with a host of other contemporary artists and writers.


In 1901, Johnny married Myrtle Swann, an Indianapolis woman, whose family had lived near Johnny’s family in the Lockerbie neighborhood.   They had a daughter, Marcella, who was born in 1902 and the family moved to the Irvington area on the East side of Indianapolis.  Shortly after the Indianapolis Star newspaper was established, Johnny Gruelle was chosen as the first illustrator for the newspaper.

The tales of the origin of the character Raggedy Ann are unknown and varied, according to Gurelle biographer Patricia Hall in her book, Johnny Gruelle Creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy (Ind. 927 G886h, 1993).  Johnny Gruelle’s wife, Myrtle, told several different versions of Johnny getting ideas for stories about a cloth doll and her friends from watching daughter Marcella play with dolls.  Marcella died in 1915 after an extended illness.  Family stories tell of grief-stricken Johnny keeping only one memento of Marcella in his studio:  a cloth doll with scraggly hair.  Although he had submitted a patent for Raggedy Ann prior to Marcella’s death, Myrtle Gruelle claims that Johnny got ideas for Raggedy Ann’s adventures from his life with Marcella and her brother, Worth.  Whatever the truth of her origins, Raggedy Ann made Johnny Gruelle a world-famous artist with Indiana connections.

This blog post was written by Leigh Anne Johnson, Indiana Division Newspaper Librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana Division at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at


Remember your roots and celebrate Family History Month by joining us for the 2016 Indiana Genealogy and Local History Fair at the Indiana State Library!
The Indiana State Library will host the annual Indiana Genealogy and Local History Fair on Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free and open to the general public. This year’s theme is “200 Years of My Indiana Home,” examining the lives and times of Hoosiers throughout the years and exploring the homes and neighborhoods in which they lived. Attendees will learn how to incorporate local history, architecture, house history, and maps and other land record resources into their family research. The following fabulous door prizes will be given away:

1 annual World Explorer individual memberships to
1 annual subscription
1 annual subscription
1 annual subscription
1 AncestryDNA kit
and more!

Lunch is on your own. Click here to receive your $5.00 parking voucher for the Fair.
For more information, see our Events page.

genealogy-fairThis 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

Will Hays Film Digitized for Bicentennial Celebration

William Harrison Hays was born in Sullivan, Indiana on November 5, 1879 to John Tennyson Hays and Mary Cain Hays. He attended Wabash College, Lincoln Memorial College and Mount Union College, earning several honorary legal degrees (LL.D.) from 1919-1940. Hays was admitted to the Indiana Bar Association in 1900 and was a partner of the Hays and Hays law firm in Sullivan. He served on multiple Republican committees and councils during the early 1910s-1921. Notably, Hays was the Republican National Committee Chairman from February 1918-June 7, 1921 and served as the campaign manager for Warren G. Harding during 1920. Hays was also the United States Postmaster General from March 1921-March 1922. After a decade of political service, Hays became President of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) during 1922-1945. He continued to be an advisor until 1950. During his time as President of the MPPDA, Hays established the “Hays Code,” an attempt at introducing censorship to film producers. will-hays-yonkers-new-york-1920

For more information about Hays and his collection of personal papers located within the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division of the Indiana State Library, view the finding aid here:

Irene Dunne and Will Hays attended the 30th Annual Banquet of the Indiana Society of Chicago on December 13, 1941. Dunne grew up in Madison, Indiana and was an actress and singer during the 1930s-1950s. She is best known for her performances in Cimarron, Theodora Goes Wild, The Awful Truth, Love Affair, and I Remember Mama.

will-hays-indiana-society-dinnerThe film below features Hays poking fun at several Indiana traditions, including the “Old Oaken Bucket,” a traveling trophy awarded between college football rivalries, Indiana University and Purdue University. During the second half of the film, Dunne sings, “On the Banks of the Wabash” by Paul Dresser.

In 2014, the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division digitized this video and audio found on an 800 foot, 35mm nitrate film with a separate 800 foot, 35mm nitrate optical soundtrack. Digitization was made possible by the Indiana State Library Foundation. The original nitrate films are now located at the Library of Congress’ Motion Picture Conservation Center in Culpepper, Virginia.

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

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!


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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!