Services for LGBT patrons

National Coming Out Day was Oct. 11, a day to honor civil rights for people who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, non-binary or otherwise gendered.

This presents an opportune time to ask the question, “Is Your Library Doing Enough for LGBT Patrons?,” as proposed in a blog post by Sandra Stacey on EBSCOpost last year. Stacey suggests tips to increase the value of your library for patrons who are LGBT+. Her suggestions include:

  • Include content with positive representations of LGBT history, themes and events
  • Enhance book displays with diverse faces and families
  • Label spines with genre (such as putting a rainbow sticker on the spine of books with LGBT content)
  • Present LGBT-genre reading lists
  • Decorate with welcoming posters
  • Display pamphlets from LGBT organizations
  • Include LGBT-related materials in other events (Banned Books Week, Holocaust Remembrance Day, etc.)
  • Provide both fiction and nonfiction resources
  • Encourage community involvement in collection development
  • Participate in Pride celebrations by having book displays or exhibits
  • Provide meeting space for LGBT organizations
  • Ensure that pro-LGBT websites are accessible
  • Offer career resources for LGBT patrons

While the LGBT+ community has unique library needs, the American Library Association (ALA) provides help in several ways, including directories to LGBT+ legal resources, outreach ideas and ideas for LGBT-friendly materials for children and teens. ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table released a 2017 Rainbow Book list in January to help with collection development. The School Library Journal published a story in 2014, “LGBTQ & You: How to Support Your Students,” that discusses the importance of “finding materials in which LGBTQ students can see themselves—resources that reflect the stories of their lives and the themes that mirror their own questions and concerns.” It mentions that a collection title can be “a book that simply features an LGBTQ family within its story line. As many as six million American children and adults have an LGBTQ parent, according to the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute.”

As we strive to ensure all members of our communities are represented in our collections, remember that help is out there!

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference & Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government

Ben’s Guide is a scholastic website hosted by the Government Publishing Office (GPO), designed to inform and educate students, parents and teachers about the federal government. The site includes learning activities about Ben Franklin, his life and legacy and information on the government and how it functions. As the first public librarian of the U.S., as well as a printer, Ben Franklin was the natural choice as “guide.” Ben’s Guide utilizes historic documents and resources found within GPO to create this interactive instructional tool.

Enjoy as Ben leads on various learning adventures! Through the completion of games and activities, one will have a better understanding of how our country was founded, how laws are made, the difference between federal and state government and so much more. The learning activities are broken down into age groups: Apprentice (ages 4-8), Journey Person (ages 9-13) and Master (ages 14+). Ben’s Guide features three games: Play the States, Printable Activities (crosswords and word searches) and Branch-O-Mania. The site also includes a glossary to help children understand government terms and teaching activities for educators.

Ben’s Guide was recognized by the American Library Association as a Great Website for Kids. The resource is wonderful for educators wanting to teach children about our country’s founding and how our government functions. The website is another example of how GPO is raising awareness on how the government works for you. Users can make any comments or suggestions relating to Ben’s Guide here. Please take a moment to explore this fun and educational site.

This blog post was written by Indiana State Library Federal Documents Coordinator Brent Abercrombie. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Solar eclipse 2017

Imagine you are unfamiliar with electricity and the only light you know is from the sun. Your family has lived this way for centuries. The sun rises in the morning and sets at night. Most daily activities occur when the sun is out. Night is a time for stillness and rest.

One day, the bright sun suddenly develops a dark shadow. In that moment, the stars are visible as if it were night and the air begins to cool. All light disappears and a thin, glowing ring surrounds the moon.

What would your thoughts be? How would you feel? Would all be lost? Would your family be afraid, or would they accept it?

In 2013, National Geographic collected various myths and misunderstandings from around the world which explained the occurrence of solar eclipses. One myth among the Batammaliba people of Togo and Benin, West Africa, is that during a solar eclipse, the sun and the moon are fighting and need to resolve old conflicts.

Arguing aside, during a solar eclipse, which will happen for us on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a New Moon will completely block out the sun’s light for two minutes or so. This is significant because the total eclipse will be visible in a 60-70 mile path across North America beginning in Newport, Oregon and ending on the coast of South Carolina. The last time the total eclipse was visible across the country was 1979. The remainder of the U.S., Canada and Mexico will see a partial eclipse. The National Weather Service’s interactive map of the Path of Totality can help you discover where your own location relates to the path.

NASA describes the science and beauty of the upcoming solar eclipse on its new website Total Eclipse 2017. There, you’ll find facts about how an eclipse works, maps of where to view it, locations of celebrations and resources for education and activities.

The Indiana State Library federal documents collection contains a U.S.A. War Department “Report on the Solar Eclipse of July, 1878,” published roughly 140 years ago. Within this report are observations made by the Signal Service of the Total Eclipse of the Sun on July 29, 1878. Field notes, letters, and other documents were collected from over 100 stations across the country, including seven Indiana locations.

“Shortly after 4 p.m. the sky cleared and showed the eclipse progressing. About 4:30 p.m. there was about one-half of the sun’s disk covered. Was prevented from timing the beginning and ending of the eclipse by occasional clouds. Temperature in the shade not affected during eclipse, but light toned down to a peculiar yellowish light.”1 

Some observations are quite poetic and colorful:

“The white lines shot out and flickered uniformly; the inner circle of light during totality was of a purple hue, around which was a circle of pale yellow skirted with a circle of orange, from the edge of which the irregular striae were observed. During totality there was no appreciable change in the color of the striae, which color was white with a yellow tinge, and no red flames were observed.”2 

You can see more Solar Eclipses of Historical Interest on the NASA Eclipse website. Historical records of eclipses dating beyond 3000 B.C. can be found at NASA’s Solar Eclipses: Past and Future webpage which provides a catalog of eclipses over the last five millennium throughout the centuries all the way back to 2000 B.C.

For a current description of what happens ‘When the Sun Goes Dark,’ check out the new illustrated book published by the National Science Teachers Association and written by Andrew Fraknoi and Dennis Schatz, reviewed here by Space.com. It’s recommended that you order it no later than Monday, August 14 to ensure delivery before the eclipse. It’s also available as an e-book.

You can view this month’s solar eclipse in a number of ways, but remember to protect your eyes!

On Monday, Aug. 21, 10 different Indiana state parks have programs for solar eclipse viewers. Find out which 10 parks are having viewing programs here on the IN DNR calendar. A handy online guide from the American Astronomical Society will show you how to safely view the solar eclipse.

If you’re not sure where to view the solar eclipse, read the article The road to watching this summer’s solar eclipse starts in the library? and view the map of participating libraries for viewing events.

Enjoy the myth and the magic behind stories of solar eclipses while observing this fantastic scientific event!

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference & Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

1. Report on the Solar Eclipse of July, 1878. Indiana: Indianapolis. July Journal, C.F.F. Wappenhans, sergeant, Signal Corps, U.S.A.

2. Report on the Solar Eclipse of July, 1878. Indian Territory: Fort Sill. – Special report by John McCann, private, Signal Corps (O.C.S.O. 4389, Obs., 1878).

 

How would you like your coffee?

Ah, yes, coffee, that marvelous drink so many of us have in our hands at some point in the day. It is such a pervasive part of our lives and our society that we not only drink it, we also cook with it. The book “Coffee Cookery” by Helmut Ripperger has a wide variety of food and drink made with coffee: Mocha pudding, mocha cupcakes and coffee cream pie. The following recipe is for hot coffee rum. Now doesn’t that sound lovely for a snowy night in front of the fire?

Have you ever wondered, even for a moment, how coffee and even coffee houses came to be so important? The Indiana State Library has a number of materials on the history of coffee, how and where it’s grown, as well as its influence on society.

One such book is “All About Coffee” by William H. Ukers, an in-depth work on the historical, technical, scientific, commercial, social and artistic aspects of coffee. The book contains numerous illustrations of historical London coffee houses as well as the following “Picture Coffee Map of the World.”

A current book in our browsing collection is “Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry” edited by Robert W. Thurston, Jonathan Morris and Shawn Steiman. It contains articles submitted by researchers on areas not only including the history of coffee, but also special chapters on producer country and consumer country profiles, the quality of coffee and coffee and health.

The idea that coffee is beneficial to your health isn’t new. The following image is of the first coffee broadside of 1674 speaking about how coffee was not only a “sober and wholesome drink,” but also was great at “preventing and curing most diseases.” There is a passage in the material that mentions another book entitled “Advice Against the Plague” by Gideon Harvey that recommended coffee as a way of warding of the contagion. There is also the story about a man named Pepys, who after being warned that his health was in danger if he continued drinking alcoholic drinks to excess, started frequenting coffee houses as a way to socialize without spirits, even though he wasn’t particularly fond of coffee as a drink.

Broadside from “Penny Universities: a History of the Coffee-Houses” by Aytoun Ellis

Just as with taverns and tea houses one of the most important aspects of coffee houses is and always was the opportunity to socialize. There were coffee houses that were infamous for being places where gambling was abundant, while others were places that business men would meet to read and discuss the news from that day’s papers, to simply discuss business or to grumble against their current government. In 1675, this last aspect brought about a royal “Proclamation for the Suppression of Coffee Houses” because of “the defamation of his majesties government” being spread by coffee house customers. Most, if not all, of these social activities can be found in today’s coffee houses making them a vibrant part of modern society and why coffee, no matter where it is served, is such a big part of people getting together.

To find out more about the history of coffee and coffee houses come to the state library. We’ll be happy to pull a few books for you.

This blog post by Daina Bohr, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Collections at (317) 232-3678 or email dbohr@library.in.gov.

Hoosier Women at Work Conference recap

April 1, 2017 marked another successful Hoosier Women’s History Conference at the Indiana State Library. This year’s theme was “Hoosier Women in Science, Technology and Medicine.” The attendees heard talks about Indiana native Melba Phillips, who pioneered physics theories, studied under the famous J. Robert Oppenheimer and advocated for women’s place in science research. We listened to talks about Gene Stratton Porter, author and naturalist, and learned how Hoosier women continued to be at the forefront in one of the first public ecology movements, removing phosphates from laundry detergent.

Jill Weiss of the Indiana Historical Bureau speaks about Melba Phillips

In a fascinating lunch time presentation about the ways women’s bodies are ignored by science and industry in making products designed solely for women’s use, Dr. Sharra Vostral presented “Toxic Shock Syndrome, Tampon Technology, and Absorbency Standards.”

Keynote speaker, Sharra Vostral

There were sessions on women pioneers Dr. Edna Gertrude Henry, founding director of the Indiana University (IU) School of Social Work, and Dr. Emma Culbertson, surgeon and physician. The presentations covered how they overcame gender discrimination to practice and teach in the field of medicine. Speakers also told us about the many women who broke barriers at IU that had long blocked them from pursuing careers in medicine and public health. Dr. Vivian Deno, Purdue University, talked about Dr. Kenosha Sessions, the long-serving head of the Indiana Girl’s School and her mission to use scientific methods to retrain young women and Dr. Elizabeth Nelson, from the Indiana Medical History Museum, discussed how using technology in making a patient newspaper provided a forum for self-expression and promoted patient literacy and self-confidence.

Elizabeth Nelson of the Indiana Medical History Museum

Jessica Jenkins, from Minnetrista in Muncie, Ind., gave an interesting talk on the Ball family women and their fight for improvements in improving sanitation, hygiene and medical access, while Rachel Fulk told about the discrimination that African-American women faced in 1940s Indianapolis in obtaining medical information about birth control. Nancy Brown reminded us of Jeanne White’s fight to educate others about AIDS so her son Ryan could attend school while a group of women in Kokomo were also searching for scientific information about the disease to keep their own children safe. There were talks about the 19th and 20th century and “Scientific Motherhood,” using scientific and medical advice to raise children healthfully.

Kelsey Emmons of the Indiana State University Glenn Black Laboratory

Sessions also highlighted the fight of many to enter the fields of scientific study at Purdue University and the many unrecognized women in in the field of archaeology. Dr. Alan Kaiser, University of Evansville, gave an engrossing talk on how a noted archaeologist “stole” the work of Mary Ross Ellingson and published it as his own.

Alan Kaiser, University of Evansville

To cap the day off The Indiana Women’s History Association President Jill Chambers, presented IUPUI student Annette Scherber with a $500 prize for the best student paper presented at the conference, “Clean Clothes Vs Clean Water, Hoosier Women and the Rise of Ecological Consumption.”

Women’s History Association President Jill Chambers presents Annette Scherber with a $500 prize for the best student paper

Look for the third annual Hoosier Women at Work, Women’s History Conference next spring. The topic will be Hoosier Women in the Arts!

This blog post is by Reference and Government Services Division. For more information, contact us at (317) 232-3678 or send us a question through Ask-a-Librarian.

What’s in a name? Government Publishing Office officially recognizes Hoosiers as Hoosiers

In this state we take our names seriously! We are Hoosiers; not Indianians; not even Indianans. We are Hoosiers and, finally, the Government Publishing Office (GPO) agrees with us! The newest edition of the GPO Style Manual will no longer refer to citizens of Indiana by the name Indianians, but now as Hoosiers. The Style Manual (similar to style manuals you find in English class for help with citations) is a standardization template designed to create uniformity of a word or phrase. One such example is the designation of native residents of states. GPO, by act of Congress, has published a style manual since 1894, and states that its rules are based on principles of good usage and custom in the printing trade.

They explain,”Writing is hard enough without having to make gut-wrenching decisions about punctuation and spelling every few seconds and the Style Manual is designed to make all government writing consistent. The manual is the authority on questions of language and spelling that are not black and white, but grey. Unfortunately, GPO long ago decided in designating the names of a Hoosier that they should be referred to as an Indianian.”

To the rescue

Senator Joe Donnelly and former Senator Dan Coats entreated GPO to make the change. They argued Indiana residents have proudly called themselves Hoosiers for more than 180 years and writing in a letter last year stated, “we find it a little jarring to be referred to (Indianian) in this way.”

Their timing was perfect, as GPO was working on the 31st edition of the Style Manual. The federal government relented and on page 95 of the updated U.S. Government Publishing Office’s Style Manual we Hoosiers are finally, officially Hoosiers.

This blog post is by Reference and Government Services Division. For more information, contact us at (317) 232-3678 or send us a question through Ask-a-Librarian.

Government Resource Spotlight: Youth.gov

For anyone interested in finding youth activities in their community, or wish to locate useful information relating to various topics relevant to teenagers, take a moment to visit Youth.gov. Youth.gov was created by an Inter-agency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP) that support programs and services focusing on youth. The site is designed to engage with youth to promote change, implement evidence-based & innovative programs, and locate program funding in your local community.

Explore 26 different topics, read personal accounts of overcoming adversity, as well as browse a mapping feature to allow viewers the ability to search for community programs in your area. Youth.gov provides information for obtaining federal funds for youth programs, including links to additional federal resources, profiles of collaborative programs, and helpful tips to implement similar projects. Youth.gov promotes community involvement, outreach, and support for as one transitions from childhood to adulthood.

Below are some examples of Youth.gov topics:

youth-gov-mapping

youth-gov-topics-1

youth4change

For more information about government resources for children, please visit https://feddocs.lib.in.us/?page_id=101.

 

Do you know who I am?: A look at political biographies

When people think of political biographies they generally think of ones for people like the presidents, and presidential candidates and we definitely have plenty of these types of materials. Including Turning Point: a Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of Age by former President Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton as They Know Him: an Oral Biography by David Gallen, and Crashing the Party: How to tell the Truth and Still Run for President by presidential candidate Ralph Nader. We also have the VHS tapes of a series called The Presidents by the American Experience, for those of us who still have those archaic mechanical devices.

There is more to political biographies and even politics itself than just the main cast of characters. The variety of people and their participation in politics is as wide and varied as the complex political system itself. For example there is August Belmont who was the party chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 1850’s, August Belmont: a Political Biography by Irving Katz; Helen Bamber who has been a central force in Amnesty International, Helen Bamber: a Life Against Cruelty by Neil Belton; Gerda Lerner who is a grass roots political activist who has campaigned for among other things an interracial civil rights movement, Fireweed: a Political Autobiography by Gerda Lerner; and Simas Kudirka who is one of the many who have sought political asylum in the United States, For Those Still at Sea by Simas Kudirka and Larry Eichel.

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So, do you know who they are? Come learn more about them and others from the world of politics, their stories may give you more of an insight into the depths and variety of the people who work so hard for all of us.

This blog post was written by Daina Bohr, Reference and Government Services Librarian. For more information Ask-A-Librarian at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

The Perils of Open Information

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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

Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) explained

There is a strong chance you have never heard of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The program was established by Congress to ensure the public has access to government information. How can the public get access to government information? Google? Social media? Yes, you can obtain a great deal of information online, including the Federal Digital System (FDsys), but the federal government has been publishing content since the 18th century. Not everything is online (what???). The answer to the question is through federal depository libraries.

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Continue reading