Mineral springs of Indiana

What do the small Indiana towns of French Lick, West Baden, Martinsville and Kramer have in common? In the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, in these towns, you could find relief from what ailed you; especially digestive issues and rheumatism. If you lived during these times, you might find refuge from your ailments at many of the mineral springs found in rural Indiana.

You might have found their main advertising focused on the curing properties of the mineral springs’ water via their natural healing content in relaxing surroundings. With “the combination of magnificent scenery and pure, bracing mountain air, with the medicinal virtues of the springs and the comforts of a palatially equipped and perfectly conducted hotel,” you could have been one of the thousands of tourists and health seekers seeking the “veritable Elixir of Life.”

Today, you can still visit French Lick and West Baden and stay at their popular resorts, but you won’t be able to partake in their famous waters. The Pluto Water of French Lick, with its devilish likeness, and the Sprudel Water of West Baden, with its friendly elf, are now bygone images.

Both waters had high native content of mineral salts, making them an effective laxative usually within one hour of ingestion, a selling point emphasized in the company’s promotional literature. Sodium and magnesium sulfate, both known as natural laxatives, and lithium salts were the active ingredients in the water. Sorry, you can’t buy Pluto Water anymore. The sale of Pluto Water ended in 1971 when lithium became a controlled substance.

Meanwhile, you could defeat your rheumatism at the Martinsville Sanitarium, as their motto “Where Rheumatism meets Its Waterloo” expresses, or at the Mudlavia Resort in Kramer. Both spas offered relief from the pain of rheumatism, referred to today as osteoarthritis, through soaking in mineral waters or using the method of being lathered from head to toe in hot mud.

In the Indiana Pamphlet Collection, the Indiana State Library has many brochures and pamphlets about these and other bygone mineral spring spas and resorts. Some of these rare and fragile materials are now available in the Indiana Historical Print Collection of the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collections. In the collection, one can find pamphlets from West Baden, White Sulphur Springs in Montezuma, Ind., Nature’s Rest and Water Cure in Trinity Springs, Ind. and the Dillsboro Sanitarium Company in Dillsboro, Ind.

For more information, visit the Mineral Springs Spas in Indiana page of the state library’s website. Information about Mudlavia, Indiana’s “other resort” can be found on the Indiana public media page. Finally, one may browse the “26th annual report of the Department of Geology and Natural Resources of Indiana, 1901” for a detailed report on the mineral waters of Indiana.

This post was written by Chris Marshall, digital collections coordinator for the Indiana Division at the Indiana State Library.

Indiana Memory – Digital Public Library of America Fest 2017

The second annual Indiana Memory – Digital Public Library of America (IM-DPLA) Fest is set for Sept. 8, 2017 at the Indianapolis Public Library Central Branch. IM-DPLA Fest is a free, one-day conference running from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The fest was created to address topics on digitization and provide networking opportunities for those interested in working on digital projects. Past attendees include representatives from large public universities, public libraries and small cultural organizations. Everyone interested in digitization is welcome to attend.

This year’s keynote speaker is Kendra Morgan. She is a senior program manager with the Online Computer Resource Center (OCLC) and the co-author of the recently published report “Advancing the National Digital Platform: The State of Digitization in the US Public and State Libraries.” In addition, there will be several other presentations on topics in digitization. The lightning talks and poster session will highlight different digital projects from around the state. Proposals to participate with a lightning talk or poster session need to be submitted by June 30, 2017. See the IM-DPLA blog for more information about submitting a presentation, lightning talk or poster.

“Advancing the National Digital Platform: The State of Digitization in the US Public and State Libraries,” by Kendra Morgan and Merrilee Proffitt was release in 2017. It can be downloaded as a free pdf from the OCLC website.

Registration, and a more detailed schedule, will be announced at a later date on the IM-DPLA blog. So, whether you’re a seasoned digital veteran or just dreaming of acquiring your first flatbed scanner, we look forward to seeing you at the 2017 IM-DPLA Fest!

This blog post by Jill A. Black, a library technician with the Indiana Memory Project. For more information contact the Library Development Office (317) 232-3697 or ldo@library.in.gov.

Marie Stuart Edwards: Suffragist and social reformer

Indiana engendered more than one leader of the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. The most recognized of these Hoosier suffragists today are probably May Wright Sewall and Ida Husted Harper. Marie Stuart Edwards of Peru, Ind. was among the next generation of activists to take up the cause.

Marie Stuart Edward, circa 1910s. (SP021)

In many ways, Edwards was typical of women’s suffragists from Indiana. Born on Sept. 11, 1880, she was one of two children in an upper middle-class family from Lafayette, Ind. Edwards received a first-class education, having graduated from Smith College in 1901 and had a supportive husband, Richard E. Edwards (1880-1969), who she married in 1904.

Over six feet in height with brown hair and eyes, Edwards was described as “a woman of brilliant, buoyant personality” in the Carroll County Citizen-Times. Not one for idle hands, Edwards oversaw designing and decorating for her husband’s business, the Peru Chair Company, while raising her only child, Richard Arthur (1909-1984), and taking an interest in social reform.

Marie Stuart Edward and her son, Richard Arthur, 1912. (SP021)

Alongside her contemporaries Grace Julian Clark and Luella McWhirter, Edwards belonged to various women’s clubs and desired the right to vote so she might effect social change. Also, like many Hoosier suffragists, Edwards lent her support to the mainstream suffrage movement, carefully keeping away from the more radical factions, such as Alice Paul’s National Woman’s Party.

Map of states where women could vote in 1914. From NAWSA pamphlet (S3355).

In 1917, Edwards was elected president of the Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana, an organization associated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). That same year, the Indiana General Assembly passed the Maston-McKinley Partial Suffrage Act, granting Hoosier women the right to vote in municipal, school and special elections.

Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana leaflet before repeal of partial suffrage law, 1917. (S3355)

Between 30,000 and 40,000 women registered to vote in Indianapolis alone within a few months. However, Indiana suffragists soon suffered a bitter disappointment. On October 26, 1917, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional.

The court’s decision shocked Edwards, but she declared that Indiana women would continue to fight for equal enfranchisement. She was right. Although the women of the state seemed shaken by the setback, they soon recovered, gaining confidence as momentum for a national suffrage amendment mounted.

Cartoon from NAWSA leaflet promoting pro-suffrage parades in Chicago and St. Louis, 1916. (S3355)

While managing her husband’s chair factory during his war service, Edwards also served as the Franchise League’s president until 1919, when she became more heavily involved with NAWSA working for the passage of the 19th Amendment. The Susan B. Anthony Amendment, as it was then called, was ratified on August 18, 1920. It stated, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Carrie Chapman Catt and Marie Stuart Edwards on either side of the next U.S. president, Warren G. Harding, Social Justice Day, October 1, 1920, Marion, Ohio. (SP021)

In February of 1920, months before the amendment’s passage, Edwards helped found the League of Women Voters, in preparation for helping women exercise their new rights as voting citizens. A non-partisan organization, approximately 2 million women joined the League by 1921. Edwards served as the first treasurer of the National League of Women Voters and then as the organization’s first vice president until 1923. As part of her duties as treasurer and manager of the national speakers bureau for the League, she traveled widely across the United States.

Marie Stuart Edwards (front row, middle) volunteering with the Red Cross during World War II. (SP021)

In Indiana, Edwards remained heavily invested in civic responsibility. She was the first woman to sit on the Peru Board of Education and in 1922, Governor Warren T. McCray appointed her to the Indiana State Board of Education. Later, Edwards led the local Works Progress Administration board in Miami County during the Great Depression. In 1937, she served as vice president of the Indiana Board of Public Welfare, as well as chairman of the drafting committee for the Indiana Civil Service bill. Edwards was also a member of Miami County Board of Public Welfare (late 1940s-1955) and served on state women’s prison parole board during the 1950s. She died in Peru, Indiana on November 17, 1970.

Sources:
Wilson, Mindwell Crampton. “Thoughts in Passing.” Carroll County Citizen-Times, November 17, 1917, 3.

Dice, Nellie Waggoner. “Forum: The Readers Corner.” Indianapolis Star, July 16, 1977, 63.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “Indiana.” In History of Woman Suffrage, 1900-1920, vol. 6. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922.

Kalvaitis, Jennifer M. “Indianapolis Women Working for the Right to Vote: The Forgotten Drama of 1917.” MA thesis, Indiana University, 2013.

Images from the Mary Smiley Small Photograph Collection (SP021) and Women’s Suffrage Movement Collection (S3355), Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library. These items are available online in Women in Hoosier History collection in the ISL Digital Collections.

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

Free summer programs for children at the ISL

The Indiana State Library is thrilled to announce that the Indiana Young Readers Center will provide free youth programming this summer. June is going to be packed with fun storytimes for younger kids and engaging workshops for older kids. Read below for more information and on how to register for our programs. All programs will take place at the Indiana State Library, located at 315 W. Ohio Street in Indianapolis.

Summer Storytime
Children, ages 3-7

All About Clifford!
When: Saturday, June 10, 2017,10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Where: Indiana State Library, Indiana Young Readers Center

What: Children will gather in the state library’s Young Readers Center to hear stories all about Clifford the Big Red Dog! Clifford’s author and creator, Norman Bridwell, was a Hoosier native born in Kokomo, Indiana. Kids will enjoy Clifford activities and crafts during this free program. Families are welcome to stay and explore Clifford’s doghouse and the rest of the Young Readers Center afterward.

All About Indiana!
When: Saturday, June 24, 2017, 10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Where: Indiana State Library, Indiana Young Readers Center

What: Children will gather in the State Library’s Young Readers Center to take a road trip through Indiana and learn cool facts about our great state! Kids will enjoy Indiana-themed activities and crafts during this free program. Families are welcome to stay and explore the Young Readers Center after the program.

Registration: You can register for All About Clifford! and All About Indiana! online or by emailing or calling Christy Franzman, (317) 232-3700. Make sure to include the following information: Name of each child attending, age, name of parent/guardian and contact number. Space is limited. We will accept up to 30 children to be registered for this program.

During Summer Storytime, parents are expected to stay and enjoy the stories and activities.

Learn IN: Workshops for Kids
Children, grades 3-6

These workshops feature Arts for Learning Indiana artists.

Recipe for an Emcee
When: Saturday, June 17, 2017, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Indiana State Library, Indiana Authors Room

What: Local spoken word poet, Tony Styxx, will visit and help everyone write some of their own poetry lines. Kids will learn about using interesting adjectives, adverbs and similes to enhance their writing. Before Tony Styxx arrives, children will hear the work of other Indiana poets and learn more about different kinds of poetry.

Gifts from the Earth: Native American Effigy Pottery
When: Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 1:30 p.m – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Indiana State Library, Indiana Authors Room

What: Kids will hear about the part Native Americans have played in the history of Indiana. Then artist, Robin McBride Scott, will tell about the history and culture of the Mississippi Native Peoples and the clay techniques they used. Everyone will create a piece of North American Mississippi-style pottery called an effigy vessel, which is in the form of a human or animal.

Jazz on the Fly
When: Saturday, June 24, 2017, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Indiana State Library, Indiana Authors Room

What: Kids will hear about the history of Indiana Avenue, where the Jazz scene flourished in downtown Indianapolis, and they will see the difference between primary and secondary sources. Local writer, Bonnie Maurer, will lead everyone in reading jazz poetry, listening to jazz music and composing poems.

Tell Your Story
When: Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Indiana State Library, Indiana Authors Room

What: Kids will learn about genealogy, where to find more information about their family and begin outlining their family tree. Local storyteller, Bob Sander, will teach the elements of story and everyone will practice telling their personal and family stories to new friends.

Registration: Please register for Recipe for an Emcee, Gifts from the Earth, Jazz on the Fly and Tell your Story online or by emailing or calling Caitlyn Stypa, (317) 232-3700. Make sure to include the following information: Name of each child attending, grade the child will be in next year, name of parent/guardian and contact number. Space is limited. We will accept up to 30 children to be registered for this program.

During Learn IN workshops, parents are welcome to enjoy the rest of the library or drop off their child for the duration of the program.

Indiana State Library media release policy
By registering for these programs, I hereby grant the Indiana State Library (ISL) permission to use my or my minor child or children’s photograph publically to promote the library. I understand that the images may be used worldwide for any lawful purpose, including educational and advertisement purposes and in any medium, including print and electronic. I further waive any claim for compensation of any kind for ISL’s use or publication of the images and/or those of my minor children, if applicable.

All programs being made possible by funds from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Indiana State Library.

This blog post was written by Caitlyn Stypa, Indiana Young Readers Center assistant, Indiana State Library.

Making it “happy” again

During a recent treatment, I was reminded by a librarian that it’s amusing to them that I describe conservation treatment work as making something “happy” again. To be perfectly honest, that is exactly how I see it. When I see something that is torn, stained, and taped within an inch of its life, it looks miserable to me. I see the potential and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

A great example of this is a recently completed treatment on one of our beautiful 1920s South Shore Line broadsides. “Steel Mills at Gary by South Shore Line,” (C. 1925) had come to my attention because it will be featured in an upcoming exhibit here at the library this summer. We have also been digitizing these broadsides and, in its current condition, it would have been very unsafe to do so.

With a large disfiguring tear down the front and several edge tears, creases and losses, this broadside just looked uncomfortable. As you can see on the back, an enterprising former employee had attempted to mend this posted with one of a conservator’s most-dreaded nemeses: tape. This mending job had also not quite lined up the tear carefully enough, causing the main disfiguring problem: bumpiness in the overall surface (or as we call it in fancy conservation terms, cockling and planar distortion). The edges definitely held promise because I could see that much of what appeared “lost” at the front had actually just been torn and folded over onto itself. With careful work, it could be made happy again!

The plan of attack was simple:

  • Surface clean the front and back carefully
  • Remove the tape from the back, ensuring all adhesive residue is removed
  • Properly align and mend tears
  • Re-encapsulate

Self-mending flap tears, where the paper has torn in a way that overlaps itself and can be mended to itself, sometimes without Japanese paper needed.

Encouraging folded edges to lay flat again with the use of localized humidification.

More of the same.

Using gentle pressure to encourage folded edges to lay flat.

After the tape and adhesive residue were painstakingly removed, I was able to realign the tears and mend it all back together using wheat starch paste and Japanese paper. Here are the results:

After treatment.

This broadside looks much happier and can now be safely exhibited, digitized, and accessed by our patrons. A very satisfying treatment, indeed!

This broadside is part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Broadsides Collection at the Indiana State Library.

This blog post was written by Rebecca Shindel, Conservator, Indiana State Library. 
Please note that colors presented on computer screens are not precisely accurate, and may look slightly different from one screen to another.

Pianos in the library

When people think about pianos they might think about Bach, Beethoven, grandiose concert halls, Elton John, 1989’s “Great Balls of Fire!” film or even where Slash decided to stand and play his guitar solo in the Guns N’ Roses “November Rain” video. One place that usually doesn’t come to mind, however, is libraries.

Despite being known as quiet places, libraries all over the world house pianos and maintain piano practice rooms. The Toronto Public Library, for example, has multiple pianos and several practice rooms. Libraries do not keep pianos solely for the purpose of practice, though. The Woodstock Public Library, in Woodstock, Ill., “welcomes accomplished and talented pianists to play the piano at [their] library.” In this case, the piano is to be played, during specified hours, in order to provide pleasant background music for library patrons. No “Chopsticks,” though!

Strictly forbidden at the Woodstock Public Library:

Indiana is no exception to the piano rule. Several public libraries in Indiana have their own pianos.

“I’m not sure how our upright piano made its way to us, it’s been here at least as long as I’ve been here and that’s been over twelve years,” said Mary Schons, head of information services at the Hammond Public Library in Hammond, Ind. The piano at the Hammond Public Library is primarily used for two programs, the long-running “Welcome to the World of Music,” with Florian Bolsega, which takes place every Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m., and their new program, “Sing Along with Rich,” which happens every last Monday of the month at 10 a.m., in the library’s community room. “While the singalong is for everyone, Rich Boban specializes in working with people who have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In January, a mother stopped by with her adult son who has a stroke and is aphasic. The music is helping him recover,” Schons added.

Rich Boban, singalong coordinator at the Hammond Public Library

The Adams Public Library System, (APLS) which serves the communities of Decatur and Geneva in Indiana, also has a piano used for programs. APLS hosts monthly Mid-Day Music events, featuring different musicians. As for the piano itself, Kelly Ehinger, director of APLS said, “The piano was a gift to the library and restored by a volunteer.” The piano is also used for special events outside of the regularly-scheduled Mid-Day Music events.

The Adams Public Library System piano being enjoyed by local pianist Karen Fouts

Over a decade ago, the West Lafayette Public Library (WLPL) in West Lafayette, Ind. purchased their Sohmer baby grand piano solely with gift funds. The fundraising effort brought together local music teachers, a generous public and the estate of a Purdue University physics teacher. “Since its debut at the library, the Sohmer is in active use by residents who have offered numerous piano, and other musical, recitals each spring and late fall. The piano is an active part of public presentations by both the library and community groups being played for art receptions, donor gatherings and the like,” said WLPL director Nick Schenkel. “Perhaps most of all, the baby grand urged our library board president at the time of the piano’s arrival to proclaim that WLPL is a special part of our community because of its ABC focus on arts, books and culture; a proclamation we gladly trumpet to this day,” Schenkel added. WLPL’s baby grand sits proudly in the library’s main meeting room suite awaiting use.

West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel at the library’s Sohmer baby grand piano

While the thought of a library might not conjure up images of Jerry Lee Lewis rockin’ out, it can’t hurt to check with your local public library to see if they do, indeed, own a piano or house a piano practice room. Just remember to cool it on the “Chopsticks.”

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.

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.

Florence J. Martin, Indiana native and World War I chief nurse

Florence J. Martin (1876-1963) was born in Jeffersonville, Ind. and lived in Indianapolis for most of her life. On April 4, 1917, at the very beginning of U.S. involvement in World War I, she was appointed chief nurse of Base Hospital 32. Base Hospital 32 was largely funded through contribution from Eli Lilly & Company.

Offer letter from the Indiana State Medical Association director John H. Oliver to Florence Martin for the position of Chief Nurse of Base Hospital 32.

Photo of Florence Martin taken in New York in 1917.

In December of 1917, Miss Martin and the nurses of Base Hospital 32 sailed on the U.S.S. George Washington across the Atlantic and began their journey to Contréxeville, France. Throughout the war, Base Hospital 32 cared for patients from over 30 countries and faced injuries from gas attacks, Spanish Influenza epidemics and overcrowding, among other wounds from wartime. For her service, which lasted the duration of the war, Miss Martin received the French Medal of Honor on March 18, 1919.

List of nurses bound for Base Hospital 32 aboard U.S.S. George Washington and their room assignments on board.

Postcard of Contrexeville, France.

Her scrapbook (V334) at the Indiana State Library in the Rare Books & Manuscripts Division, includes letters, photographs, postcards, news clippings, official orders and memoranda from 1917 to 1919 chronicling her experiences as a nurse during World War I.

Florence Martin’s Medal of Honor from France.

Sources used: Benjamin D. Hitz, A History of Base Hospital 32, (Indianapolis, IN: Edward Kahle Post No. 42 American Legion, 1922)

This blog post was written by Lauren Patton, Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian, 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.

The Indiana/Virginia land dispute

The Cornelius Harnett and William Sharpe letter (S0593) was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Guy Morrison Walker on June 2, 1919.

The letter was sent to North Carolina Governor Richard Caswell by Harnett and Sharpe while they served in the Continental Congress during the United States Revolutionary War. Dated November 4, 1779, Harnett and Sharpe relay information about a petition presented to Congress by the Indiana Land Company regarding land claims. There had been a dispute between shareholders of the Indiana Land Company and Virginia as to who had the legal right to sell land located along the Ohio River. The Indiana Land Company’s petition asserted Congress had jurisdiction over the land but Virginia claimed it had jurisdiction and North Carolina supported Virginia’s claim. For more information about the controversy, visit the Indiana Historical Bureau’s “The Naming of Indiana” page.

This historical document is in the process of being digitized and transcribed and will be available via the Indiana State Library Digital Collections page.

To read more about proposed borders in early Virginia region history, including Vandalia, visit the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s website.

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.

Do you want books from all of the libraries? A PLAC card might be for you

Have you ever wished you could pop into a local library to check out a book to read while lounging on the beach at the Indiana Dunes State Park, even though your Indiana home library is hundreds of miles away? Perhaps you live in southern Indiana and you have to go all the way up to Allen County for a business trip. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to check out a DVD from the library near your hotel? If these situations strike a chord with you, a Public Library Access Card (PLAC) is the perfect solution.

PLAC is the statewide library card program enacted by the Indiana General Assembly in 1993 (Indiana Code 4-23-7.1-5.1). The PLAC program allows individuals to purchase a card which allows them to borrow materials directly from any public library in Indiana.

Any individual who holds a valid Indiana public library card may purchase a PLAC card which is valid for 12 months from the date of issue. The cost of the card is reviewed and adjusted annually by the Indiana Library & Historical Board (ILHB). The fee for 2017 is $65.00. The Indiana State Library collects the revenue from the sale of these cards distributes it back to libraries on the basis of net loans.

What a deal!

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the PLAC card program:

Q: Are public libraries required to participate in the statewide PLAC program?
A: Yes. According to Indiana Code 36-12-3-2 and Indiana Code 36-12-7-2, all public libraries “shall comply with and participate in the statewide library card program.”

Q: What types of materials are eligible for loan in the PLAC program?
A: Books and select non-book materials. Each public library will annually determine what types of materials will be loaned to PLAC cardholders, but at least books that normally circulate must be available for loan.

Q: Does the PLAC include access to eBooks, databases and other online resources?
A: No. eBooks, databases and other online resources are licensed locally for the home users of that library and are not available to PLAC holders.

Q: If I later decide that I don’t need my PLAC, can I get a refund?
A: No. PLAC fees are not refundable.

Q: Who is eligible for a PLAC?
A: Anyone who holds a valid library card issued by a public library in the state may purchase a PLAC. In order to receive a PLAC card individuals must have a valid “resident” or a non-resident library card.

Q: How is the PLAC used?
A: Individuals need to present the PLAC on their initial visit to the library and go through the registration process for that particular library.

Q: When does my PLAC expire?
A: The PLAC expires one year from the date of application for the card. At that time, the PLAC cardholder would need to reapply and pay for a new PLAC card.

Q: Must materials borrowed on a PLAC be returned to the lending library?
A: Yes. PLAC cardholders should be informed that they are expected to return materials borrowed using a PLAC to the lending library.

Q: May anyone in my family use the PLAC?
A: No. According to IC 4-23-7.1-5.1 the PLAC is always issued to an individual.

For even more questions and answers about the PLAC program click here. If you have other questions, please contact StatewideServices@library.in.gov.

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.