Vision Expo returns September 14

Please join the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library as it hosts the Indiana Vision Expo on Saturday, Sept, 14, 2019  from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Indiana State Library.

The Indiana Vision Expo provides an opportunity for people with vision loss – and their friends, families and service providers – to learn about the resources available that help promote independent living. It’s also a great opportunity to meet the Talking Book staff as well as fellow Talking Book patrons.

The Vision Expo will feature our usual wide variety of vendors and nonprofit agencies who provide the latest in adaptive technology, independent living aids and other resources for all ages. New vendors this year include the Indianapolis Bowling League for the Blind and Simplified Insurance Solutions.

Our program will include presentations by Bosma Enterprises and Easterseals Crossroads at 10:30 a.m. and 11:45 p.m.,respectively.

Please check our website as the event approaches for more details, including information about parking and a complete list of participating vendors.

This blog post was written by Laura Williams of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. 

Disaster management – water leak

Building leaks happen, especially with older buildings like the Indiana State Library. In April of this year, an air conditioning unit’s leak caused water to spill into the library. Two floors were affected by the leak. The fourth floor leak created a harmless pool of water on the floor, but the third floor leak caused damage to library printed materials.

The leak likely occurred on a Sunday, as the library’s conservator, Seth Irwin, found the water damaged material Monday morning. The water damaged several documents from the library’s federal documents collection. Library staff moved quickly to minimize damage. Tables were set up, and fans brought into the room, as the conservator and his intern worked to separate and gently dry the damaged material. The bulk of the damaged items were promotional material for the U.S. Nursing Corps. The material included books, pamphlets, photographs and a couple of large broadsides.

Treating the photographs was fairly straightforward, but one of the broadsides posed a challenge. The two broadsides were folded before they were damaged by water. The conservator was able to unfold the items, but one of the posters was rather large. Unfolded, the item barely fit in the conservation lab’s sink. The poster was treated, cleaned and re-enforced so that it can be displayed for a future exhibit.

Luckily, the damage was relatively small in scale. After the incident, new procedures to minimize the damage of a future leak were implemented. The area now has nearby tarp, which covers the tables and material when it is not in use. The two tables primarily serve as a work station for wrapping and enveloping reference material. Building leaks are scary events, especially in a library, but with previous training and an understanding of disaster procedures, the staff was able to minimize the extent of damage.

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.”

Whistleblowing in Indiana

The following blog article is general information and should not be construed as legal advice. The article reflects Indiana law at the time the article was written, but may not include every detail or nuance and may not reflect the law in other jurisdictions. Additionally, laws frequently change. The reader should not act on the information contained above but rather should act on the advice of his/her own legal counsel or other appropriate professional.

Reports to State Board of Accounts
This past legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly made a lot of little changes to Indiana laws that largely went unnoticed. One of the changes was related to reporting misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance on the part of a public officer to the Indiana State Board of Accounts. SBOA is the state agency responsible for monitoring the financial integrity of Indiana’s state and local government entities. As of July 1, 2019, statute IC 5-11-1-9.5 language broadens to allow reporting to SBOA wrongdoing committed by not just public officials but also by any individual who has responsibility for administering public funds on behalf of an entity. The law provides some job protection, at least in theory, when the report is made by a state or local government employee. However, a report could be made by anyone. The law states that the public office, officer or institution may not retaliate against an employee of the state or local government entity for making such a report to SBOA alleging wrongdoing. The law also provides that an individual who has been terminated, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed or otherwise discriminated against by the individual’s employer as a result of the individual’s good faith report is entitled to all relief necessary to make them whole again. “Relief” may include reinstatement to their job, two times the amount of back pay owed to the individual, interest on the back pay owed to the individual, compensation for any special damages suffered by the individual including litigation expenses or reasonable attorney’s fees.

Reports made by state employees
Indiana law includes several other whistle blowing statutes. In addition to the above law, there is a whistleblower law that specifically applies to employees of Indiana state agencies. IC 4-15-10-4 provides that a state agency employee may report in writing to a supervisor or the Inspector General a violation of a federal law or regulation, a state law or rule, an ordinance of a political subdivision or the misuse of public resources. This law, like the one previously discussed, also includes some protection for the employee making the report. As long as the employee made a reasonable attempt to determine the information reported is correct, the employee may not be terminated, demoted, transferred or reassigned, have salary increases or employment related benefits withheld or be denied a promotion the employee would have otherwise received just for having made the report. However, the employee can be subject to disciplinary action, including termination, in the event the employee knowingly provided false information. Additionally, employers who violate this law are subject to possible criminal prosecution.

Reports made by local government employees
There is a corresponding whistleblower law, IC 36-1-8-8, that specifically applies to employees of political subdivisions. Political subdivisions are local government entities such as public libraries, schools, cities, towns, townships, counties and more. Just like state employees, local government employees may report in writing a violation of a federal law or regulation, a state law or rule, an ordinance of a political subdivision or the misuse of public resources. However, the report must first be made to the employee’s supervisor or appointing authority unless the supervisor or appointing authority is the person about whom the report is being made. If the report is about the employee’s supervisor or appointing authority, then the statute points to the State Ethics Commission laws to determine to whom the report should be made. It appears a report could be made to the prosecuting attorney of each county in which the violation occurred, SBOA, the attorney general, a state officer or the governor, among others. If a good faith effort is not made to resolve the problem, then the employee may make a report to any person, agency or organization. IC 36-1-8-8 contains similar job protections as its state employee counterpart for good faith reports made by local employees. The state and local laws are also similar in that disciplinary action can be taken against the employee for making a false report. Local government employers who violate this law and who take adverse employment action against an employee who made a good faith report of wrongdoing commit a Class A infraction.

Reports made by private sector employees
There is also a whistleblower law that covers private sector employees whose companies are doing work pursuant to a contract with a public agency. IC 22-5-3-3 is very similar to the whistleblower laws that cover state and local government employees.

This blog post was written by Sylvia Watson, library law consultant and legal counsel, Indiana State Library. For more information, email Sylvia.

Rethinking how we talk about the unserved

For over 100 years, the Indiana State Library has sought a solution to the “unserved” areas of Indiana. As someone who grew up in one of these areas, this has been a topic that I have long wanted to see addressed. As I look back at some of the articles written in the 1930s in Library Occurrent, I find that this issue has been on the minds of folks working with libraries for a long time. Maybe it’s time we started to change the conversation. What if we stopped talking about “unserved areas” and started talking about the “library deserts” that exist in our state?

In calling the areas unserved, we have unintentionally painted this as a problem for the libraries to deal with, and one that seems to be the fault of the libraries. “Why won’t the library serve those people?” First of all, having grown up in rural Hancock County before Sen. Beverly Gard was able to make changes with CEDIT, and change the service area, this was something the folks at the Hancock County Public Library wanted to see changed. While my friends and I would make the 20-30 minute drive to the Hancock County Public Library to do research, we were constantly teased by the worlds that could be opened up to us through all the books available for check out, but not to us. As high school students, all striving for admission and financial assistance to colleges, our focus was beyond the “why” we couldn’t check out the books, beyond the “why” behind the fact that we had to purchase most of the books we wanted to read. We had more immediate concerns that would impact our futures greatly, and didn’t even realize how much we were missing just because our neighbors had fought against paying taxes to the library.

By talking about library deserts, we can begin to shape the conversation around the citizens of this state who are at a disadvantage. Yes, they are welcome to go to any public library and use the materials while there, but it’s not the same level of access that the residents of that district have. It is a civic inequity that exists because of decisions made long ago and/or by a vocal group of individuals striving to protect their own interests. Every child in this state can expect to receive an education, starting at least with kindergarten. But there is so much work to do before those children ever get to kindergarten. Every Child Ready to Read and other early literacy programs have been growing in popularity throughout the public library network. But what about those pre-K kids who don’t have a public library of their own? Maybe they’ll still get to story hours, but what fun will it be when all of their friends get to leave with stacks with books and they have to go home empty-handed? And our colleagues in library districts that are juxtaposed with these library deserts have to have difficult conversations every day explaining what we all know: that library service is not free, that patrons contribute to the fiscal success of every library through some kind of tax and that the individuals who are paying those taxes should not have to carry the burden for everyone who doesn’t pay taxes.

Inequities among students who have restricted access to adequate broadband, varying levels of digital and general literacy and inequity in income noticeably affects their potential, as highlighted by this February 2019 ACT report. Obviously, library access does not solve all these problems, but ensuring all citizens have a basic level of access to information may help level the playing field for all our citizens. The ability to convey the benefits of library access to all members of our communities, and to all citizens of the state could be enhanced if we made a minor shift in our language to better reach more people.

This post was written by Wendy Knapp, deputy director of Statewide Services at the Indiana State Library.

From the vault: “Commentary of the Four Books of Sentences (Scriptum super IV libros Sententiarum)”

“The Four Books of Sentences (Libri Quattour Sententiarum)” is a comprehensive theology book written by Peter Lombard, Bishop of Paris, during the 12th century, circa 1150. Lombard’s four books cover the following topics: the mystery of the trinity; on creation; on the incarnation of the word; and on the doctrine of signs. During the high-to-late Middle Ages of the 13th to 15th century, it was considered one of the most important theological textbooks. Philosophers, theologians and other scholastics drafted their own writings based on open-ended questions left by Lombard.

Around 1252, Saint Thomas Aquinas, an Italian philosopher and theologian, began his study for a master’s degree in theology. Aquinas taught at the University of Paris and lectured on the Bible as an apprentice professor and bachelor of the “Sentences.”[1] Aquinas’s “Commentary of the Four Books of Sentences (Scriptum super IV libros Sententiarum),” contains original thought of Saint Thomas as he departs at times from the text he is commenting on to explore other facets of the teaching set forth by Peter Lombard.[2]

The Indiana State Library is fortunate to have a copy of the “Commentary of the Four Books of Sentences” in its possession. The vellum incunabula was printed by Hermann Lichtenstein on April 26, 1490 in Venice, Italy. It includes 150 pages with hand drawn gothic style capitals penned in a red and blue color. A notation within the front inner cover reads: “Imported from Leipsic, May 15, 1847. St. Thomas Aquinas. Printed at Venice, A.D. 1490. Joseph R. Paxton”.

This 529 year old incunabula has been visited by bookworms and contains extensive termite damage to the front cover. Despite its appearance, it’s a wonderful example of book construction and artistic expression from the early years of printing.

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.”

[1] Davies, Brian. The Thought of Thomas Aquinas. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009. Pg. 5.

[2] “Commentary on the Sentences.” Aquinas Institute. October 31, 2018. Accessed May 17, 2019. https://aquinas.institute/operaomnia/sentences/.

Historical children’s books – Elsie Dinsmore

Learning to read? Reading to learn? Same today as it’s ever been; though, Mother Goose may honk at being put aside for a guy named Captain Underpants. No matter what you make of that, children reading is a good thing. With colorful illustrations and simple and poignant messages, kid’s books make an impression on us that we remember long after we’ve outgrown them.

The Library of Congress has curated a digital collection of classic children’s books. These are all in the public domain and completely downloadable. They are fun to browse or read in depth. The collection is available online here. 

I was excited to see that one of the books in the collection is by Indiana author, Martha Finley. Finley grew up in South Bend, Indiana and resided there until her 20s. She lived much of her adult life in Maryland, where she died on Jan. 30, 1909 at the age of 80. The Library of Congress selected the first edition of the first book in the Elsie Dinsmore character series. According to their notes, the copy in the Library of Congress came to them in a 1939 donation from auctioneer Arthur Swann. “Superb copy, and extremely rare … first edition.”

The Indiana State Library has a few editions of Elsie Dinsmore, but not a first edition. The character first appeared in 1867. The earliest edition we have is 1896. In one edition, the publisher has noted they used a new set of type for the 25th anniversary edition, as the original type settings had worn away from the repeated demand for re-printing.

The character is a religiously devout young girl who was raised on a southern plantation with family, and now lives with her father, a well-traveled and more practical-minded military man. The two clash as the characters develop, with Elsie’s Christian faith playing a most crucial role. The character must have appealed to many readers, although modern readers should be weary of Finley’s portrayal of slave life and speaking dialect given to those characters. The popularity of Elsie Dinsmore led Martha Finley to write a total of 28 books in the series. The character was revised in an updated series called, “Life of Faith: Elsie Dinsmore,” in 1999.

This post was written by Indiana Collection Supervisor Monique Howell

Spotlight on new purchases in the Genealogy Division

The Genealogy Division at the Indiana State Library recently acquired some new materials. A portion of the new materials are a selection of books by Thomas P. Lowry. These books deal with Civil War Army officers and doctors behaving badly.

The material in these books is drawn mainly from records held at the National Archives, Court Martial Case Files 1800-1894 and from materials in Record Group 94.

“Bad Doctors; Military Justice Proceedings Against 622 War Surgeons” (G 973.7 A11L) is a listing of doctors who went AWOL, were drunk on the job and who were subjected to courts-martial, among other things, as was the case with George H. Mitchell, a surgeon with the 88th Pennsylvania. “He went AWOL whenever he felt like it; he got into fistfights; he stole food; he stole building supplies. He was court-martialed three times. Was denounced by Lincoln’s judge advocate general, dismissed by Lincoln, reinstated by the governor of Pennsylvania…” There are sections on Navy and Confederate surgeons as well as a chapter on ten surgeons who were notable for their exploits as well as the documentation surrounding them.

“Utterly Worthless; One Thousand Delinquent Union Officers Unworthy of a Court-Martial” (973.7 A11Luw) is similar to “Bad Doctors,” because it lists offenders by last name with a short description of the offence. One of the noteworthy listings is for Maj. Henry Roessle of the 15th NY Cavalry, who was dismissed on May 25, 1864 “for gross neglect while in charge of the pickets, causing the loss of 11 men and 45 horses.”

“Tarnished Scalpels: The Court-Martials of Fifty Union Surgeons” ( 973.7 A11 Lts) and “Tarnished Eagles : The Courts-martial of Fifty Union Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels” (973.7 A11 Lte) both contain 50 cases that go into more detail than the previous books mentioned. Each person has a chapter detailing to their actions and the outcomes using the materials found in the National Archives, some of the chapters even include images.

All of these materials are available for use in the genealogy area.

Blog written by Sarah Pfundstein, genealogy librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3689 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Trade, association and club publications

The Indiana State Library’s newest digital collection focuses on trade, association and club publications. The library has numerous materials in our Indiana and Rare Books and Manuscripts collections from various organizations, clubs, associations and trades across the state. The purpose of the collection is to provide access to a sampling of the materials from these organizations. Some runs of periodical materials are not completely digitized, so please check our catalog for further holdings for individual organizations or titles.

Trade publications are specific to a trade like construction, business or manufacturing. Among the publications, you can find the Indiana Construction Recorder, the official publication for the Society of Indiana Architects. This publication lists numerous building projects from around the state, making it a great source for architectural research.

Association and club publications are usually geared toward hobbies, interests or educational pursuits. They often provide general information about the topic, members, meetings, conventions and articles.

The Indiana Federation of Clubs was a parent organization to many smaller and local clubs during the early 20th century. We have several of their convention programs available in the collection.

The Y’s Man was the publication of the Senate Avenue’s Young Men’s Christian Association in downtown Indianapolis. This particular YMCA focused on the African-American community in that area. The newsletter covered the World War II era and had information about the service men and women.

The Indiana State Bee Keepers Association provided information about bees, their maintenance, the group’s meetings and its members. We also have a few issues of the Gladland News, a group focused on gladiolas and their cultivation. The Nature Study Club of Indiana’s yearbooks and publication, The Hoosier Outdoors, are also included in the collection.

You can find this digital collection, as well as others, on our website. We constantly continue to build our digital collections, so please check back periodically to see what new materials we have added. Please chat with one of our librarians who will be happy to help you get to our digital collections and also to help you learn more about the materials in the collections.

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

Recommended titles from the Indiana Voices collection

Indiana Voices, the program at the Indiana State Library that records Indiana related books and magazines for patrons of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library, works hard to select books to record that we feel will be something that can be enjoyed by a wide range of Indiana library patrons. We record books about notable Hoosiers, books by Indiana authors that fall into popular genres like cozy mysteries and westerns and books set in Indiana. The program strives to produce audiobooks that captivate, motivate and educate the listener. Many of the books we record are selected from the books housed in the Indiana Authors Room at the Indiana State Library and would not otherwise be available for patrons to enjoy in an accessible format.

Indiana Authors Room

In keeping with that goal, here are a few selections that are currently available through the Indiana Voices program.

Mystery
“Murder on the Bucket List (A Bucket List Mystery)” by Elizabeth Perona

The septuagenarian women of the Summer Ridge Bridge Club have gathered in secret late one July night to check skinny-dipping off their bucket list. But as Francine observes, the jittery members seem more obsessed with body issues and elaborate preparations than actually stripping down and getting in the pool. A pungent smell emanating from the pool shed provides a perfect distraction. When a dead body flops out, it’s an answered prayer for Charlotte, since the first item on her list is to solve a murder.

Thus begins an unexpected adventure for these eccentric seniors filled with unseen twists and turns with a dash of humor thrown in for good measure

Westerns
“Cotton’s War” by Phil Dunlap

As sheriff of Catron County in New Mexico Territory, Cotton Burke has put his life on the line against some of the West’s most unrepentant outlaws, like Virgil Cruz; who’s kidnapped the woman Cotton loves and threatens to kill her should the lawman attempt to interfere with his gang’s schemes.

Memphis Jack Stump used to wear a badge and uphold justice until one drink too many cost him his job, and his friendship with Cotton. But he’s the only man Cotton trusts enough to infiltrate Cruz’s gang as a hired gun and help take them down from the inside before the bandit enacts a terrible revenge.

Biographies
“Richard G. Lugar, Statesman of the Senate: Crafting Foreign Policy from Capitol Hill” by John T. Shaw

In this illuminating profile, John T. Shaw examines Lugar’s approach to lawmaking and diplomacy for what it reveals about the workings of the Senate and changes in that institution. Drawing on interviews with Lugar and other leading figures in foreign policy, Shaw chronicles Lugar’s historic work on nuclear proliferation, arms control, energy and global food issues, highlighting the senator’s ability to influence American foreign policy in consequential ways.

“Gene Stratton-Porter: Novelist and Naturalist” by Judith Reick Long

When Gene Stratton-Porter died in 1924, she was one of America’s most popular novelists and the best-known Indiana author. In this first complete account of Stratton-Porter’s life, Judith Reick Long reveals the author of sentimental and simple nature tales as a much more complex individual than she has heretofore been considered.

Her best-known novel, “A Girl of the Limberlost,” is about a lonely, poverty-stricken girl who lives on a farm in Adams County and escapes from her sorrows in the Limberlost Swamp. She wrote 12 novels, three books of poetry, children’s books, magazine articles and seven nature studies.

Classic Hoosier Literature
“The Hoosier-Schoolmaster” by Edward Eggleston

This cherished tale is considered a milestone in American literature, a monument to regional writing. Edward Eggleston’s account of the adventures of a young schoolmaster in a 19th century school system in rural Southern Indiana presents a vivid and readable chapter in the history of America and American education.

Contemporary Fiction
“Mother Night” by Kurt Vonnegut

“Mother Night” is a daring challenge to our moral sense. American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy during World War II, is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal. But is he really guilty? In this brilliant book rife with true gallows humor, Vonnegut turns black and white into a chilling shade of gray with a verdict that will haunt us all.

And there are so many more…

These highlighted titles are just a few choices when it comes to recommended audiobooks available from Indiana Voices. Just about any genre that suits your fancy is available through our program and we are adding more all the time.

Here are just a taste of the titles that are currently in the Indiana Voices pipeline:

“Black Noon: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500”
“A Dark and Stormy Murder (A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery)”
“Hudson Lake (A Jazz Age Novel)”
“Undeniably Indiana: Hoosiers Tell the Story of Their Wacky and Wonderful State”
“Our Service, Our Stories – Indiana Veterans Recall Their World War II Experiences”
“Letters from Skye (A Love Story spanning two World Wars)”
“Life and Death in Kolofata: An American Doctor in Africa”
“Pioneers of the Hardwood: Indiana and the Birth of Professional Basketball”

To view a complete list of books in the Indiana Voices collection, visit our online catalog, search for “Indiana” and select “subject.” Then choose “Indiana Digital Voices” from the media drop down list. To sign up to receive Indiana Digital Books, or to learn more about the Talking Book Library, please contact us at 1-800-622-4970 or via email. You can also download Indiana Voices books from BARD by searching for “Indiana.”

This blog post was written by Linden Coffman, director of Indiana Voices. For more information about the Talking Book and Braille Library, call 1-800-622-4970 or send an email.

Isamu Noguchi and the Interlaken School

Modernist artist Isamu Noguchi was born Nov. 17, 1904 in Los Angeles. He was the illegitimate son of acclaimed Japanese poet Yone Noguchi and his American editor, Leonie Gilmour.

A book by Yone Noguchi from the Indiana State Library’s collection, which features his signature,
dated Aug. 15, 1910. Call number: Cage ISLM 899 H436n.

Isamu and his mother moved to Japan in 1907 where he spent most of his childhood. In 1918, Gilmour sent her son thousands of miles away to be educated, landing him in Indiana at the Interlaken School. He would later reminisce that “When I was 13 years old, my mother decided that I must go to America to continue my education. She had selected a school in Indiana that she had read about in, I think, the National Geographic. I am sure that she must also have been concerned about the unfortunate situation of children of mixed blood growing up in the Japan of those days – half in and half out. She decided that I had better become completely American, and took me to the American consul, who performed a ritual, mumbling over a Bible, which I believe was my renunciation of Japanese citizenship.”

The Interlaken School was a progressive boys’ school located near La Porte, Indiana. Founded by Edward Rumely, an Indiana native who had received an extensive education in Europe throughout the early 20th century, the school was influenced by Europe’s “New School Movement” which immersed students in a balance of both intellectual and practical life skills training. In addition to a regular academic curriculum, the boys at Interlaken were expected to do the actual work of helping to run the school, often working alongside their instructors at tasks such as farming, gardening and cleaning. Physical exertion and being outdoors were also important components of the school’s ethos.

From an informational booklet dated 1915 located in the Indiana Pamphlet Collection. Call number: ISLO 373 no. 2.

By the time Isamu arrived in Indiana, however, the United States was embroiled in World War I and the school largely had been given over to the military for use as a training camp. According to Isamu, “…while all the other children went home, I was left alone to watch soldiers, trucks, mess halls and barracks take over the grounds. I became a sort of mascot. Then there was the Armistice. Winter came, and I had no place to go, since my mother could not afford to send me elsewhere. Nobody seemed to be in charge of me.”

Eventually, Rumely took Isamu under his wing and set him up with a family in La Porte, where he attended the local public school until his graduation in 1922.

Isamu went on to have an impressive career in the arts. Primarily a sculptor and landscape architect, he is probably best known for a piece of furniture he designed in 1947 which is considered a staple of mid-century modernist design and which bears his name: The Noguchi table.

A Noguchi table. Image: lartnouveauenfrance [CC BY 2.0]

Isamu Noguchi died Dec. 30, 1988 in New York City.

Isamu Noguchi ca. 1950s. From “Noguchi” published by Bijutsu Shuppan-Sha, 1953. Call number: ISLM 735 N778n.

Direct quotations from Noguchi used in this blog are from his book “a sculptor’s world” published by Harper & Row in 1968 and available at the Indiana State Library; call number: ISLM NB237.N6 F8 1698.

Inspiration for this blog post is courtesy of the 99% Invisible podcast which recently featured an episode on Noguchi’s life titled “Play Mountain” and which briefly mentioned his time in Indiana. The podcast is available here.

This blog post was written by Jocelyn Lewis, Catalog Division supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”