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.

Wow!  How did this happen? How did we become a nation where everyone we know is just one emergency away from financial disaster? Not just the people who are working hard at minimum wage, but also those with upper class incomes.

Here at the Indiana State Library we have books on the history of debt in our nation such as Debtor Nation: the History of America in Red Ink by Louis Hyman (ISLM HG3756.U54 H96 2011), The Overspent American: upscaling, downshifting, and the new consumer by Juliet B. Schor (ISLM HF 5415.U6 S36 1998), and Borrow: the American Way of Debt by Louis Hyman (ISLM HG3756.U54 H95 2012) that may provide some answers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Of course, concerns about personal finance are nothing new. We have a number of items in our collection pertaining to finance from the 1940’s to the present.

An example of an e-book is the 2008 Payday loans equal very costly cash [electronic resource] : consumers urged to consider the alternatives by United States. Federal Trade Commission. Division of Consumer and Business Education  (FT 1.32/4:P 29 )

From the 1990’s comes Personal finance for dummie$ by Eric Tyson (ISLM HG179 .T97 1994). From this book, people who are comfortable enough with themselves to identify with the title “dummy” can get instructions on personal finance.

And from the 1940’s we have the book The personal finances of Abraham Lincoln by Harry E. Pratt (ISLM E457.2 .P9), which is a wonderful volume of historical material on how one man took care of his finances.

So come to the Indiana State Library for information, both historical and more current, for you to use to keep your financial future on an even keel.

This blog post was written by Daina Bohr, 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