New manuscripts catalog available to the public

Genealogy and Rare Books and Manuscripts have successfully transitioned from Archivists’ Toolkit to ArchivesSpace, a content management system provided by LYRASIS for archival collections. Staff participated in several trainings, updated finding aids, migrated data and developed a new public user interface, here.

The catalog provides a snapshot of the Genealogy and Rare Books and Manuscripts collection areas, important resources, the opportunity to interact with social media and over 5,300 records to search. Tips are provided to help guide the user through the catalog. Patrons have the ability to receive generated citations, print PDF versions of finding aids and request materials using a generated form.

For more information, contact Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor at (317) 234-8621.

The Tabard Inn Library

Over the course of its long history, many book donations have come to the Indiana State Library and have been incorporated into the collection. These books often contain personal inscriptions, decorative bookplates or other ephemera from previous owners.  A first edition of the novel “The Cost,” authored by Hoosier David Graham Phillips and published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1904, bears the following handwritten note on the inside cover:

“This book traveled all over Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Holland, 1913.”

It also has a colorful bookplate for something called The Tabard Inn Library. The Tabard Inn Library was a membership library founded in 1902. For a fee, people could obtain a membership which would allow them to borrow books from designated book stations throughout the country, many of which were located in public places such as stores. Members could exchange an old book for a new one by depositing five cents into the book station. The books were encased in black cardboard bearing distinctive red bands on the spines, hence the company’s motto: “With all the RED TAPE on the BOX.”

A magazine advertisement for the Tabard Inn Library program from 1905.

It is tempting to imagine the original owner of this book selecting it from dozens of other titles at a Tabard Inn book station located in a hotel lobby prior to embarking on their European adventure.

For more information on the Tabard Inn Library venture, including pictures of the book stations, visit here.

The Library of Congress has an entire special collection of books that, like ISL’s copy, were once part of the Tabard Inn program.

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.”

A sad death

This November, as we remember those who served in our military forces, as well as the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the Genealogy Division has made some new materials available through our Indiana Digital Collections about an Indiana soldier, Fred C. Hurt, who served in the Spanish-American War. These materials are a part of the G034 Nancy H. Diener Collection which was recently processed by staff.

Fred Carlton Hurt was born in Waynetown, Indiana on July 28, 1876 to Dr. William J. and Susan C. Hurt. Fred followed his father’s career path and entered the Indiana School of Medicine. While he was in his second year of medical school he decided to enlist in the U.S. Army Hospital Corps. Fred joined the U.S. Army as a private on June 14, 1898 in Indianapolis and was sent to Camp Thomas in Chickamauga, Georgia.

During his time there he wrote home to family and his fiancé Gertrude Jachman, telling them about camp life, and his work tending to the sick, which he really seemed to enjoy. Fred also wrote about how he was expecting to be shipped out either to Puerto Rico or Cuba and was anxious to go.

Fred wrote that the camp was rife with disease and understaffed. In late July, he wrote “At present we have 150 men men (sic) who are bad sick. There are only 10 men who go on duty at one time to take care of 150.” Fred himself would succumb to typhoid fever at Fort Monroe in Virginia on Aug. 18, 1898.

Inside of medical tent with personnel at Fort Monroe.

Fred’s family in Waynetown were unaware that anything was wrong until the received a telegram sent collect that Fred was dead, his body was later shipped home collect and the family was billed $117. His father William sends letters to various government official trying to rectify that matter and get reimbursed for the funeral expenses and transport of his son’s body home as well as back pay owed to his son. On May 1,1899 he sends a letter to Charles B. Landis a representative from Indiana’s 9th District asking him to look into the matter.

On March 21, 1900, a letter from the Treasury department states that they have approved payment to William J. Hurt to amount of $112.17 for back pay and reimbursement of expenses involved with the transport and burial of Fred C. Hurt.

Receipt from treasury department.

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.”

2018 Genealogy and Local History Fair recap

On Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, the Indiana State Library was abuzz with genealogists and representatives from historical organizations, genealogical societies and libraries, who were all in attendance for the 2018 edition of the Genealogy and Local History Fair. The theme this year was “Digging Up the Dead,” as we learned how to examine, decipher, and interpret death records, death research and other interesting facets of mortality in history.

Lisa Alzo during one of her three presentations.

Internationally-known speaker Lisa Alzo presented “Murder, Mayhem and Town Tragedy,” “Cause of Death: Using Coroner’s Records for Genealogy” and “Diseases, Disasters & Distress: Bad for Your Ancestors, Good for Genealogy.” Sarah Halter, executive director of the Indiana Medical History Museum, presented “What Killed Your Ancestors?,” which examined 19th century medicine, the accuracy of information and names of certain diseases and what they mean.

Sarah Halter presenting “What killed your ancestors?”

In between sessions, attendees were able to mingle with fellow genealogists, vendors and exhibitors, as well as explore the beautiful Indiana State Library building and view the library’s most recently-installed exhibits. “The Practice of Medicine” and “The Business of Death” are both currently on display in the first floor Exhibit Hall and in the second floor Great Hall of the state library. In addition to items from the library’s collections, “The Practice of Medicine” showcases items on loan from the Indiana Medical History Museum. If you happened to have missed the Genealogy and Local History Fair this year, there is still time to catch these great exhibits, which will be on display through the end of January 2019.

Attendees browsing vendors in the Great Hall.

We hope to see you at the next Genealogy and Local History Fair on Oct. 24, 2020, as we focus on “The Women in Your Family Tree,” while commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and examining the sometimes hard-to-research half of your family tree.

This blog post was written by Stephanie Asberry, deputy director of public services, Indiana State Library.

Reading is healthy: Introducing the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Reading Club

Book clubs and reading groups are staples of library outreach and literacy efforts. In these groups, people gather to discuss Oprah’s picks or the New York Times’ best-sellers in an effort to socially engage with literature and current events.

To help grow health-related literacy, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine’s NNLM All of Us Community Engagement Network has announced the launch of the NNLM Reading Club. The goal is to support libraries’ health literacy efforts and address local communities’ health information needs by celebrating important National Health Observances through the fun and intimacy of a book club.

Screen cap from https://nnlm.gov/all-of-us

Screen cap from https://nnlm.gov/all-of-us

The NNLM Reading Club offers a selection of three different book titles along with corresponding free, ready-to-use materials designed to help promote and facilitate a book club discussion on a health issue or topic. It’s easy to download the discussion materials and direct patrons to the library’s book holdings. However, the NNLM is offering an added benefit.

Beginning Nov. 1, 2018, participating NNLM libraries are making the quarterly reading club picks available in a free, handy and portable book club kit. This program-in-a-box format includes eight copies of each of the following items: the selected book, discussion guide, MedlinePlus.gov flier, NIH MedlinePlus Magazine, NIH All of Us Research Program brochure and additional materials in support of the selected health topic. All of these materials are tucked inside a handy library book bag and shipped to the requesting library.

Any U.S. library that is an organizational member of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine is eligible to apply and to receive one NNLM Reading Club book kit from Nov. 1, 2018 through April 30, 2019. The good news is membership to the NNLM is free.  Due to the limited supply of federally-sponsored NNLM Reading Club book kits, libraries that support outreach to vulnerable populations receive priority status.

Click here to browse the November selections and download the ready-to-use materials or to order an NNLM Book Club kit from a participating region.

This post was submitted by Professional Development Office Supervisor Kara Cleveland.

Association for Rural and Small Libraries Annual Conference recap

“You don’t have to be big to think big.”

“Create bolder goals.”

“Do most things well instead of all things mediocre.”

“Size is relative, not potential.”

“Focus on the things to be grateful for.”

“Small is not the same as less; look at what we do have!”

These quotes are a few of my favorites that I heard at the Association for Rural and Small Libraries Annual Conference, themed “Linking Libraries in the Lincoln,” that took place in Springfield, Illinois on Sept. 12-15, 2018. I have to say, this was one of the best national library conferences I have ever attended! The mission of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries is to provide “resources and support that empower those in small and rural libraries to deliver excellent service for their communities.” It’s also “a network of persons throughout the country dedicated to the positive growth and development of libraries.”

I had heard so many great things about the ARSL group. For years on the Indiana library Listservs I would see posts from Julie Elmore praising this group and how valuable it is for small and rural libraries. I finally got to see if for myself, as I joined ARSL earlier this year. On the ARSL Listserv you could tell that people were so psyched about the conference and the chance to meet new and old friends. The excitement was palpable! There are libraries out there that only have one staff person, which is why this group is so important. It can be very lonely working by yourself, but having the support and guidance of this group is priceless.

This year’s annual conference was originally capped at 500 people, but due to an overwhelming response, which saw the conference sell out in three weeks, an additional 250 attendees were accommodated! The conference committee, chaired by Elmore, director of the Oakland City Columbia Township Public Library in Oakland City, Indiana, did an amazing job finding overflow hotel space, rearranging layouts and wading through numerous wait lists.

Forty-nine of the 50 states were represented at this conference. In the picture, you see 26 librarians from Indiana alone, though many other Hoosier librarians didn’t make the picture. We had many opportunities to network with dine-arounds, trivia night and special tours of the Illinois State Library. I met some very cool librarians from states all over the country, including Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, New York, North Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. I met a lovely lady who said that the conference was a like a vacation for her because she’s the mother of seven kids!

There were so many presentations I wanted to see and despite a few being repeated, I ran out of time. The presentations were extremely practical and ran the gamut of what libraries are doing: library of things, coding, strategic planning, marketing and storytimes. Programming ideas included “Adulting 101” and an “Escape Room @ the Library.” Small and rural libraries are used to wearing many hats, so they know how to do it all and the awesome presentations reflected that fact.

Along with the presentations, we had excellent keynote speakers. President Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by historical presenter Kevin Wood, brought history to life with some of his recollections and insights. Author and Illinois native Elizabeth Berg stressed that “no place ever felt quite like home, except a library.” Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden joined us via live stream and talked about ways that the Library of Congress can truly be the library of the United States. Part of their strategic plan is to do more outreach and open up resources. Dr. Hayden said one way that libraries can take advantage of this is to live stream Library of Congress programs at their own libraries.

“Linking Libraries in the Lincoln” was a resounding success! There was such an overwhelming feeling of camaraderie among attendees who shared successes, encouraged each other and learned new things from passionate professionals. I definitely recommend attending this conference; you won’t be sorry you went. So be sure to mark your calendars for 2019. There is already a countdown clock for the next ARSL conference  on Sept. 4-7, 2019 in Burlington, Vermont. ARSL 2020 will be back in the Midwest – YEAH!

This post was written by Northeast Regional Coordinator Paula Newcom, Professional Development Office.

Picture it… Indianapolis… 1852.

Image traveling through a forest so thick that you could do it without ever touching the ground. You could go from tree limb to tree limb, with very little visible grass or flowers, just climbing along. Now imagine this area being Indianapolis, circa 1780. Up until around 1820, the area we now know as the capitol of Indiana was exactly that, a massive dense forest. Settlers then moved in, cleared land, began farms and started to form a community.

Several maps of early Indianapolis show the layout of the mile square, but it wasn’t until 1852 that we saw the first map of the city with any detail.

When we first got this map out and saw exactly what we had to deal with, we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task to digitize it. In fact, the two pictures below show what the book looked like. It had been dissected, glued onto linen and folded to fit on the shelf, which was a very common library practice early on. Nowadays, we don’t do that.

Rebecca, our conservator, painstakingly took pictures of each section, then recreated the completed image that you now see in our digital collections. This was a several day process. Now this extremely rare map has come back together and we can study it and learn what the layout of the city was like in the early 1850s.

For example, the railroad lines and their depots beeline the map, showing how the trains moved merchandise, goods and passengers in all directions. Passengers might have seen a map like this hanging at the train station. Checking the legend, they could have found several houses for accommodations, such as The Palmer House (H) or The Bates House (J), both at the corners of Illinois and Washington Streets, just a few blocks up from the station. After getting settled in, they might have walked up to the governor’s residence to pay a call on Joseph Wright, Indiana’s governor in 1852.

The map also shows the small portion of the massive 296-mile planned canal system and its path through the city; only eight miles of the canal were completed. Beginning at the White River, the canal ran east, then headed north and south. The canal helped facilitate interstate commerce and also provided alternative transportation for passengers.

Most of the transportation routes, such as the canals and railroads, are south of the residential areas, including the current Lockerbie Square and the old Northside neighborhoods. Oftentimes, residential areas grew north of the industrial areas as winds would blow the smoke and pollution south.

Later maps, such as those published in 1855 and 1866, show fewer details. Both maps can be viewed on the Library of Congress’s website. We have the maps at the state library, but the Library of Congress has done such a great job digitizing their copies that we just refer researchers to those digitized maps. Our copies, sadly, are in need of much repair.

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

Talking Book and Braille Library November Book Club

There is one more chance this year to participate in the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library Book Club! The final meeting of the year will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, at 2 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m.Central. The book we will be reading and discussing is “News of the World” by Paulette Jiles, which is available to Talking Book patrons in audio (DB 86668), braille (BR 21741) and large print (LP 20739).

The novel follows an itinerant news reader as he escorts a ten-year-old white girl back to her family after her rescue from a Native American tribe. Participants can join the discussion by calling our toll-free dial in number, 877-422-1931, and entering the conference code 8762032518. Participants may also request that the library call them at the appointed time.

To request the book and to let us know that you are interested in attending, please contact Laura Williams via email or at 1-800-622-4970.

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

ISL hidden resource – Federal documents at the Indiana State Library

The Indiana State Library participates in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), serving as the regional depository for the state of Indiana. Providing access to government information is only one service offered by the library. ISL is committed to promoting government information literacy to all Hoosiers. That information is found on the Indiana Federal Documents website. Created to be the resource destination for learning and locating government information, Indiana Federal Documents contains tips and resources relating on the federal government geared for both researchers and librarians.

The Indiana Federal Documents site features blog posts promoting specific government resources, services or upcoming educational events. Beyond the blogs posts are research and subject guides. The research guides cover an overview of the SuDoc classification, how to research congressional documents and reports and how to research public and private laws. The subject guides are compiled government resources on a particular topic. The guides include the site, URL and a short description of the resource. Currently, there are subject guides for the following topics: children’s resources, college resources, family history resources and popular government resources. All of the sourced information comes from an official government agency or government project.

Indiana Federal Documents also includes information specific to librarians, like Indiana’s Light Archive Agreement, Indiana’s State Focused Action Plan, procedures, guidelines, links to government information webinars and government information Listservs. Additional resources relating to government information can be found from the federal documents collection page through the Indiana State Library. In addition to linking directly to IFD, the federal documents page has information on ISL’s history in the FDLP, information on Government Information Day (GID) conferences and links to prominent government resources. For any questions, or sources not discussed, Federal Documents Librarian Brent Abercrombie is available to contact for guidance.

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.”

IMDPLA Fest recap

IMDPLA Fest: a one day discussion of all things Indiana Memory – Digital Public Library of America. You can find the region’s best and brightest digitization minds sharing thought-provoking new projects, discussing best practices and elevating the conversation surrounding digital preservation…

…and me.

I’m not a digitization specialist in even the most generous sense of the word. But I do work with them, and I oversee a grant program that funds some of the projects. In order to better understand just what those LSTA digitization monies are paying for – and to follow the larger discussions surrounding digitization projects – I attended the fest as an onlooker with a vested interest. Turns out, you don’t have to be an expert to benefit from the expert discussion.

Keynote speaker John Bracken, executive director of DPLA, summarized recent studies on children’s increasing internet use, finding it to be a trend parents absolutely needed to embrace if they wanted their child to succeed, while simultaneously being something that should terrify them. The odd juxtaposition got a laugh, but was also a was a fitting segue to a discussion of the necessity of DPLA, and its informational gatekeepers, to adapt to changing technologies and to take quality, vetted content to people at their points of access.

There were concurrent breakout sessions on large-scale digitization projects, loosely broken into two tracks: visual resources and manuscripts. Those interested in visual resources were offered sessions on The Iditarod of Photo Digitization: Junior Achievement and Indiana: 1800s Land Records Accessed by Township Address. People like myself, who followed the manuscripts, were treated to an overview on the work of digitizing the letters and journals of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, and one about the challenges inherent in digitizing employee records from the Pullman-Standard Railroad Car Manufacturing Company. And isn’t that food for thought: one day, your employee records, complete with notes on performance issues, could be eagerly set upon by future digital historians, preserved for all the world to see. Decades from now, a room full of scholars could be debating whether your since-expired self has any right to privacy regarding your records, or whether your history of habitual tardiness or not playing well with others now belongs to the annals of history. Or, if we’re travelling down that rabbit hole, consider those journals from the sainted Theodore Guerin. Her letters and journals are darkly humorous, somewhat pointed, deeply personal… and now preserved for future study. They are a wonderful, thought-provoking resource that brings such humanity to this particular bit of history. They are also a reminder that I might want to seriously consider setting fire to all of my overly angsty middle school writings.

A break for lunch was followed by some lightning sessions highlighting useful digitization tools and sites, before wrapping up the day with two practical, nuts-and-bolts overviews on issues every digitization project faces: questions of copyright and fair use and best practices for creating useable metadata.

The back half of the day gave concrete instructions for people in the field, and an appreciation of the complexity of the issues for observers like me. If you ever thought that digitization merely involved slapping down a page on a scanner and calling it a day – well, this meeting of the minds would disavow you of that idea. My appreciation of the work of digitization continues to grow, as does my need to shred a terribly mortifying childhood diaries. You know… just in case.

This blog post was written by Angela Fox, LSTA and federal projects consultant, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Library Development Office at 800-451-6028 or via email.