Train the INSPIRE Trainer workshops

The Indiana State Library Regional Coordinators are hitting the road with a new “Train the INSPIRE Trainer workshop.

Want to help your patrons get ahead of the curve at work and in the classroom? Need help teaching your patrons about INSPIRE? No idea on how to start? Look no further!  This hands-on training will give you the tools needed to teach your library patrons how to get the most out of INSPIRE – Indiana’s free virtual library. You will be provided with a basic PowerPoint presentation, sample script and lots of tips on how to adapt this presentation for many different groups. We want to empower you to train your patrons and students on INSPIRE.

Prior to the training, It is recommended that you bring a laptop to this training and that you view the new, 32-minute Introduction to INSPIRE Webinar which can be found on our Archived Trainings page. Just watching the webinar allows you to earn 1 TLEU over and above what you will earn by attending the training. The webinar is available for anyone to watch. The trainings (listed below) are 2-3 hours and you will earn 2-3 TLEUs. Please find detailed information on each location by clicking on the registration link.

Join us in 2017 on any of the following dates and places:

  • April 24 – Noble County Public Library (Northeast region) – Register here.
  • April 25 – Monticello-Union Township Public Library (Northwest region) – Register here.
  • May 3 – Monroe County Public Library, Ellettsville Branch (Southwest region) – Register here.
  • May 10 – Shelby County Public Library (Southeast region) – Register here.
  • May 10 – Ohio Township Public Library – Register here.
  • August 1 – Westfield Washington Public Library – Register here.
  • August 10 – Crown Point Community Library – Register here.
  • October 11 – New Albany-Floyd County Public Library – Register here.

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

The Indiana statewide triad: InfoExpress, IN-SHARE and SRCS

Part of the mission of the Indiana State Library (ISL) is to strengthen the services of all types of libraries by developing new services and consistently re-evaluating existing services. During the last six months, ISL has updated the rules governing two of its long standing state library services and introduced a new one, which promises to re-invent the way resource sharing is managed within the state.


Since 1997, ISL has provided a heavily subsidized courier service, InfoExpress, to a wide variety of libraries around the state. Each courier stop costs the state $625 per year, but we subsidize that service so most libraries pay only $100 a year for one-day-a-week service.

A typical year will have an average of a half million parcels moving around the state. Each of those parcels contains somewhere between one and 20 items, so the total number of books, videos, etc. that are circulating around the state each year easily exceeds five million items. One of the high points of this service is that our cost per item is a fraction of the cost of similar systems in other states.

On Jan. 1, 2017, new public library standards went into place. These standards changed the way that the minimum number of service days is computed. This means that in July, when you renew your subscription to InfoExpress, all libraries will be required to subscribe to one-day-a-week of service for every 2,000 parcels shipped out.


Thirty years ago one of my first library jobs was processing interlibrary loan requests for libraries that couldn’t afford to subscribe to the new OCLC ILL system. This state-library funded service still exists today under the name of IN-SHARE. In the years since that service was launched, very little has changed about the way we manage that system. It currently costs the state library approximately $25 for each and every request submitted. Since we had no limits on the membership or the number of requests they could place, this amounted to basically asking the state library for a blank check each year to provide a very expensive service to a small number of libraries.

At the recommendation of the Resource Sharing Committee, IN-SHARE is adopting some new rules and guidelines starting this July. These guidelines will offer most libraries a set number of free requests each year, with a preference for the service going to the smaller libraries who normally would not be able to offer interlibrary loan service to their patrons. Any IN-SHARE requests that exceed that threshold will be billed at $5 for each additional request, far below what it costs the state library to process. These bills will be sent out quarterly and only apply to IN-SHARE requests that exceed each library’s threshold.


The third part of this resource sharing triad is Indiana’s new Statewide Remote Circulation System (SRCS). This is a new way for streamlining interlibrary lending requests between Indiana libraries. Instead of having to pay a staff member to search for, and request, each title, authorized patrons can place their own requests. Patrons search a statewide union catalog combining the holdings of nearly 200 Indiana libraries and identify the item that they want. If one of these libraries has a copy of that item currently available, and it is in a loan-able location and format, then the patron sees a Request This Item button. A SRCS request is still an interlibrary loan, but it cuts across the differences between the many different ILS in use by Indiana libraries and streamlines the requesting and processing steps.

One of the drivers for the IN-SHARE changes has been the advent of SRCS. It has been estimated that approximately 75 percent of the items currently being requested through IN-SHARE could be filled faster and cheaper using SRCS. By combining SRCS and IN-SHARE, most libraries will be able to expand service to their patrons, while reducing their dependence on IN-SHARE. People often ask, “Does this mean IN-SHARE is going away?” The answer is “no.”  By reducing the demand, and the cost, for IN-SHARE, the ISL plans to use the savings to underwrite the setup any annual connection fees for participating in SRCS. IN-SHARE will, of course, continue to provide the items that SRCS can’t provide, such as photocopies and out-of-state materials.

This blog post is by Steven J. Schmidt, Library Development Office supervisor. For more information, contact Steven at (317) 232-3715 or send an email to

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

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

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 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. 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

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.

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

The Perils of Open Information


These days in the Information Sciences community, we hear a lot of buzz surrounding the phrases open source, open information, and open access.

So, what exactly is… open… about these things? Continue reading

Innovative Library Program: Westchester Public Library’s MakerSpace Lab

Northwest Regional Coordinator Kimberly Brown-Harden recently had a conversation with Automation and Serials Manager Rhonda Mullin from the Westchester Public Maker Space Lab9Library in Chesterton, Indiana. They discussed Westchester’s innovative MakerSpace Lab and the impact it is having on both patrons and the library.

Kim: Can you give me some background on how the program was created?

Rhonda: Our library prides itself in offering the latest technology to our patrons. Because of this we saw a need to introduce 3D printing as well as a MakerSpace Lab. Unfortunately, space is very limited within our library. We did some serious brainstorming and decided to create space within an existing space. So we literally created our MakerSpace Lab within the space of another room. We hired a contractor who constructed an interior wall with a sound barrier, cut in a door frame and door, installed a peek window and trimmed it out. From there we outfitted the room with equipment and supplies. Continue reading