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

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

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

Library Personnel Connect at Indiana Library Federation Conference November 2015

The Indiana Library Federation connected library personnel for two days in November. The conference theme was “Strengthening Connections: Your Key to Success.” The keynote speaker, author Daniel Handler, emphasized his connections where he related his past experience reading local newspapers, and curiously reading unusual stories Not in Kansasthat may or may not be a lesson to the reader. The results are Daniel Handler’s Lemony Snicket stories, a “series of unfortunate events.” I give you a small sampling of fortunate events that started on Tuesday November 16, the first day of the conference.

“Arguing for Aristotle: Connecting the Evolution of Small towns and the Future of Public Libraries” by Zachary Benedict reinforced my belief in libraries as public spaces to make people happy, to assist the public with their inward development, where quality civic space and a good life are experienced. It was not all philosophical. 80% of libraries are in small towns of less than 25,000 people. So like Greek and Roman public spaces, public libraries need to be well designed and well intended.

This was followed by “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” a panel of library directors and technical service person discussed the implementation of broadband technology in their library spaces. Discussion began with what each library has in terms of technology infrastructure, what obstacles there are to overcome (more than money alone), what success looks like, and where to go in the future.

Wednesday, November 17, a packed room with a standing crowd enjoyed Laura Solomon presentation on “Absolutely Free (and Practically Unknown) Online Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed.” Some sites are for productivity but she closed the presentation with, an Internet tool to Cookie Monster your web pages. All of us need sites that can assist us in handling information but levity is good, too.

Participants laughed at themselves, recalled memories and experiences, and look to the coming year to implement what was learned in our conference connections.

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

Hartford City Public Library’s New Director Michele Ogle

Northeast Regional Coordinator Paula Newcom, and I recently visited the Hartford City Public Library and met the new director, Michele Ogle. Michele gave a tour of the building, a Carnegie library that has been remodeled and modernized. Patrons in the library were engaged in genealogy research while others browsed the book resources.

Michele Ogle_editI asked Michele about her journey to her present position. It is a return to her roots having grown up in Montpelier, Indiana. As a child she regularly visited the Montpelier-Harrison Township Public Library and as a teenager worked as a circulation clerk at the library. She also worked there in the summers between college terms, before deciding to pursue her Masters in Library Science.

Michele is excited about serving the population where she grew up. She finds it difficult to pick one favorite book but is partial to the Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Meeting non-famous people in history interests her, learning about how they lived and trials they faced. Other interests are playing videogames, gardening, all sorts of creative hobbies, and spending time with pets and her family.

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

Strategic Library Planning

PlanExcellence is a moving target in today’s world, where change is a constant. It requires vision and leadership to build a long range or strategic plan to navigate the future and incorporate change. The importance of planning is demonstrated by the detailed strategic plan requirements outlined in Public Library Standards. Continue reading

Free Internet?


One of the popular services in public libraries is access to Internet. Sometimes this Internet service is referred to as broadband. Broadband commonly refers to high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access. Broadband includes several high-speed transmission technologies such as: Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Cable Modem and fiber. Over half of the 237 Indiana public libraries have fiber optic service, with majority of other libraries supported by DSL and cable services. Patrons enjoy the high speed internet connection in the public libraries. Continue reading

Life as a new ISL Regional Coordinator

Paula Newcom 1
In November 2014, I began an exciting chapter in my career as a Librarian. I became the Northeast Regional Coordinator for the Indiana State Library. I have sixty libraries in the northeast region that I will eventually visit. During my travels I have been totally blown away with what I have seen at these libraries!!! Whether small, medium or large, all of these libraries are doing unique things and are a jewel in their communities. I want to do a brief recap of what I’ve done so far as a regional coordinator with the Indiana State Library:

Questions, questions, questions

I field questions from my region’s librarians and act as a liaison between them and the Indiana State Library. Similar to a typical Reference desk, I get all sorts of questions: from Centennial celebrations to how to work on a WordPress website. With every question that comes my way I learn something new, so keep the questions coming!!

Indiana State Library building Continue reading