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 Debt Tsunami is coming!

It’s only October and already there are signs of the upcoming holidays showing up in the stores. Yes, that’s right the holidays are coming. The lights, the ornaments, the PRESENTS! It’s starting out as a trickle, but soon it will be coming at us as one big glittery shining tsunami of mass consumerism that sweeps so many of us up in an incredible euphoria of shopping. Family members come to us with lists in their hands and looks of happy anticipation on their faces and we go out and buy those items, because we don’t want to disappoint them. And all the while our credit cards are so often already being haunted by the ghosts of holidays past. We are in debt up to our eyeballs and this has become so …. Normal. Continue reading

Not just your elementary school Encyclopedia

When you think Encyclopedia most of us immediately envision the 24 volume sets in our elementary school library with articles on everything from Aak (Korean Court Music) to Zoroastrianism (Ancient Iran religion) but encyclopedias can also be on a single subject. The Indiana State Library has several hundred topical encyclopedias.

The earliest encyclopedic work known is the Naturalis Historia written around 77 AD, it covered 37 subjects like natural history, medicine, and architecture. The library has a 1938 translation of this work. The State Library’s oldest encyclopedia is Navigantium atque itinerantium bibliotheca, Or, A complete collection of voyages and travels: consisting of above six hundred of the most authentic writers. This second edition published in London between 1744 and 1748 is a compilation of articles about early sea voyages.

If reading about sea voyages aren’t your passion, then what about the arts? We have encyclopedias on everything from opera to rock, and from film noir to graphic art and comic book heroes. If you are more of an sports fan, then the Indiana University Basketball Encyclopedia or The Notre Dame Football Encyclopedia might be for you.

For those interested in health and well-being we have a large selection of topics; aging, adolescence, stress, disability and rehabilitation or The Encyclopedia of Nutrition and Good Health. If you need information about science, we have encyclopedias on anthropology, astronomy, oceanography, space travel and more.

We even have some of the more quirky titles; Lyons’ Encyclopedia of Valves, Durations: the Encyclopedia of How Long Things Take, Encyclopedia of Knots and Fancy Rope Work and we even have encyclopedias for librarians on buying encyclopedias like Purchasing an Encyclopedia: 12 Points to Consider.

Whatever your pastime or pursuit the Indiana State Library probably has an encyclopedia filled with information on the subject.

This blog post was written by Marcia Caudell, Reference and Government Services Librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

Where are the Books in a Closed Stack?

The Indiana State Library is primarily a research library. Whether you are looking for United States Congressional hearings, researching the War of 1812, or looking for the latest information on environmental science, the material is probably in the closed stacks.

Like most research libraries, the Library of Congress, Chicago’s Newberry Library, and the William H. Smith Library at the Indiana Historical Society, the books and manuscript material are stored in areas that are not accessible to the public. The State Library and Historical Building first opened in 1934, and it featured the latest construction of the day with the main book stacks divided into seven-stories in this four-story building.

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The latest in automatic electric elevators with pushbutton-control were installed, and the stacks were arranged as an integral part of the heating and ventilation system.

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As the collections grew and the building was expanded more rooms were added and the new book stacks are now moveable, allowing for even greater use of space.

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Whether the material is on open or closed stacks, our skilled librarians are happy to assist both the novice and professional researcher.

This blog post was written by Marcia Caudell, Reference 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.