Talking Book and Braille book talks now available

The Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library has begun recording book talks and posting them on our Facebook and YouTube pages. Each talk will run between 10 and 15 minutes and include information about plot, characters and themes. The first book talk was about “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah (BR 23299, DB 81189, LP 19795).

This month’s talk covered “The Night Circus” (DB 73783, BR 21370) by Erin Morgenstern.

Upcoming book talks include the following:

You can request a copy of either of these books by contacting Abby Chumin at 1-800-622-4970 or via email.

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

 

Come visit the Indiana State Library

Do you know how many times we hear “I didn’t even know this was here”? Well, we’ve been here for nearly 90 years, just waiting for you to come check us out!

I understand some people aren’t very fond of coming downtown. All the worries of how bad traffic might be or thinking, “Where in the world will I park?”

Nowadays, Google it makes it easy to get here. I found my way and I get lost going around the block. Also, there is convenient metered parking on both sides of Ohio Street that will take coins or your debit card.

To the residents of the state of Indiana, this is your library, rich with history, beautiful murals, stained glass windows, carvings in the Indiana sandstone and architecture you just don’t find anymore.

While here, you can trace your genealogy, scroll through microfilm for that news story or bring in the kids to visit the Indiana Young Readers Center. We just have so many great things to show you!

Also, did you know we have a small giftshop called the Nook? We specialize in selling products made right here in my hometown and yours.

So, pick a day and come check us out. We really do look forward to seeing you.

This blog post was written by Rayjeana Duty, circulation supervisor, Indiana State Library.

Understanding and accessing Indiana state censuses and other enumerations

Like many states, Indiana conducted state censuses in various years. However, locating and accessing these records can be difficult for researchers. Especially confusing is the varying ways in which the censuses were conducted over time, as this affected what information enumerators recorded as well as where the records came to be stored.

Indiana Territorial Census, 1807

According to John Newman, former State Archivist, many early state censuses were strict enumerations, where the number of people living in a township or county were tallied, but names and personal information was not recorded. Although some censuses in the early to mid-1800s in Indiana did ask for names, they enumerated only males over the age of 21. These records were usually filed with the county auditor in each county and were never collated at the state level.

So where else can we look for enumerated information on our Hoosier ancestors to fill in the gaps not covered by state censuses? There are several options, actually. While the availability of records varies by time period and by county, on the whole these are very useful resources for genealogists.

Enumerations of African Americans

Harrison County Register of Negroes and Mulattoes, ca. 1850

These enumerations cover the 1850s and 1860s and were created as part of an attempt to prevent free African Americans from moving to Indiana and to document those who already lived here. Although these efforts were eventually declared invalid by the Indiana Supreme Court, the records created provide a valuable resource for pre-Civil War African American research in Indiana.

School enumerations

School enumeration, Fulton County, 1896

School enumerations list all the children of school age in a school district, township or county. They were created so that school officials knew how many students they would potentially need to serve and also to help enforce truancy rules. Some school enumerations include just the head of household and the number of school-aged children, while others name each student along with their age and other information. These are particularly useful to genealogists who are researching children.

Enumerations of registered voters

Index to Registered Voters, Pike County, 1919-1920

These enumerations list the people who were registered to vote in a given township or county. The records were kept so that officials knew who was eligible to vote in elections. Since most of the publicly available voter rolls predate the 19th Amendment, they contain far more information on men than women.

Enumerations of soldiers, widows, orphans and/or pensioners

Card index to enrollments of soldiers, widows and orphans, Indiana State Library

Officials conducted these enumerations to determine how many veterans lived in Indiana in various years, as well as the widows and orphans of veterans who were receiving military pensions or benefits due to the service of their deceased husband or father. The largest enumerations took place in 1886, 1890 and 1894 and focused on Civil War veterans. The 1890 enumeration is particularly valuable since the 1890 federal census was lost in the aftermath of a fire.

Other enumerations
These are miscellaneous enumerations that were conducted for various reasons, some of which are no longer known. They often cover only a township or two and may be part of a larger enumeration where the bulk of the records were lost.

To see the Indiana State Library’s holdings for state censuses and other enumerations, please visit our Enumerations Research Guide here.

This blog post is by Jamie Dunn, Genealogy Division supervisor.

A look back at 2021

The beginning of each year for many of us is a time of introspection. We reflect on the previous year, what challenges were faced, what monumental milestones happened and what goals were or were not completed. With the new year being symbolically seen as a time for fresh starts, we look forward hopefully to seeing new milestones, meeting new goals and realizing our dreams.

Indianapolis Public Library

In true “New Year” tradition, this blog post will reflect back on 2021 but will do so on the topic of libraries and the legal issues they faced throughout the year. 2021 was the second year in a row where issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the year. Libraries were continuing to figure out the “new normal” and they were adjusting to operate in a world where masks, social distancing and frequent sanitizing were becoming the norm. Among all the normal legal issues employers and public entities face, libraries additionally faced legal issues and challenges related to mask and vaccine mandates and limitations on the use of library meeting rooms and their other public spaces.

Keeping libraries fully staffed remained an issue as frequently employees were out due to COVID-19 illness or quarantine. Story time and library programs became more challenging as the move to digital, versus in-person, programs triggered new technology and copyright challenges. There was renewed interest by libraries in patron liability waivers for programs that did occur in person, as libraries were concerned about being sued if someone got sick after attending a library event. As federal funds trickled their way down to local government entities, including public libraries, there were questions about the steps needed to legally receive and use the funds and how to account for such funds in library financial records.

The Indiana General Assembly enacted several laws related to local government and the pandemic that impacted libraries as well. For example, the General Assembly enacted a law that broadened the authority of local government, including libraries, to hold meetings electronically. Additionally, express authority was granted legislatively for important government documents to be signed electronically. Both of these changes were in response to the need for libraries and other local government entities to be able to continue to govern and maintain operations in the face of public health emergencies and other disasters. The General Assembly also passed a law that prohibited local government entities from requiring vaccine passports (proof of vaccine) making it more challenging for libraries with vaccine mandates to know for sure staff had been vaccinated.

Added to the mix of COVID-19 related issues were the individuals doing “First Amendment audits.” First Amendment audits are when a person or people enter and walk through the library (or post offices or court houses or other government/public settings) with a video camera to record their experience. If the person or people recording are able to record uninterrupted, the public agency is said to have passed the audit. Questions and concerns around patron privacy and how much libraries could legally intervene in such situations were common throughout much of the year.

As 2021 progressed, we grew to realize that the pandemic, while evolving, was not ending. As a result, goals for 2022 include continuing to find creative ways to provide effective uninterrupted library service while keeping library staff and patrons as safe as possible. One of the things libraries are doing is increasing electronic resources and internet accessibility for patrons. Another thing libraries are doing is allowing groups to use meeting rooms and study spaces but limiting capacity so that groups can social distance. Many in-person programs have resumed but have limited attendance capacity to facilitate social distancing. Enhanced sanitation practices continue.

Over time, libraries have evolved from being primarily book repositories and research institutions to being community hubs where you can hang out with your friends, hold study groups and community meetings, and find help, resources and programs on just about any topic. Libraries are resilient and accustomed to adjusting with the times. The challenges of the pandemic notwithstanding, your local library continues to remain one of your community’s best assets. Make it a resolution this year to learn about all the resources your local library provides. You might be surprised at what you find.

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

Indiana State Prison trade goods

Indiana’s first state prison opened on Jan. 9, 1821, in Jeffersonville, taking in inmates regardless of age, sex, offense or sentence. In 1847, a new prison was built in nearby Clarksville as well as one in Michigan City. Inmates were divided between the two and they became known as the Indiana State Prison South and the Indiana State Prison North.

By 1897, due to the belief that young males should not be housed with older males, they were divided by age between the southern and northern locations. The Indiana State Prison South became home to inmates between the ages 16 to 30 and was renamed the Indiana Reformatory.

On Feb. 6, 1918, during the night, a fire damaged most of the buildings at Indiana State Prison South. After this, the Governor’s Commission decided to build a new a more centrally located prison in Indiana. A site near Pendleton was selected since the Fall Creek provided a source of running water. The construction commenced in 1922 and opened in late 1923.

As part of the early 20th century prison acts, the offenders at the Indiana State Prison South were taught trades and manufactured various goods for state institutions and agencies across the state. This is the trades building at Pendleton.

In the Indiana State Library’s digital collections, you can explore examples of the printed catalogues. We have ones from 1905-10, 1915, 1925 and 1938.

The catalogs show what was manufactured by the inmates in these trade schools at the Indiana Reformatory in Jeffersonville and Pendleton. They include cooking utensils, clothing, shoes, brooms and furniture. Here are some example pages. The first from the 1905-10 catalog and the second from the 1915 catalog.

In the 1925, wicker furniture was added and probably made available to the various state park inns which were built during this time.

By 1938, old hickory-style furniture appeared, probably also used at the state park inns. Other additions included licenses and tags, soaps and cleaners, brooms of all kinds and bricks.

The Indiana State Agency Documents Digital Collection has publications from various state agencies, including departments, boards, bureaus, commissions, councils and committees that carry out various functions of the Executive Branch of Indiana state government. The Indiana State Library has state publications that span from the 19th century to present. To help preserve the older materials, digitized copies are being made available so the collection will continue to grow, not just in this collection, but also throughout our digital collections.

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

Data science professional development opportunities year in review

In 2021, there have been a healthy amount of professional development offerings for Indiana residents interested in developing their data skills. With many of us working remotely for part of the year, these offerings can be explored from work or home.

Earlier this year, Indiana’s Management Performance Hub hosted Indiana’s Data Day virtually over two days in March. You can watch the event here on the MPH website.

The MPH also offers a free ongoing proficiency program in data skills. You can take the classes online and earn points here.

In April, the Indiana SDC Program, IGIC and GENI co-sponsored a webinar with Lorraine Wright, “GIS in the 1700s! Indiana’s Historic Land Record Field Notes Digitized into Online Maps.” The recording is available here on YouTube.

The Census Bureau made several opportunities available upon the release of the 2020 Census PL-171 redistricting data in August. These data provided the basic final counts for the 2020 Census down to the census block level. Take a look at the Census Academy here, with the most recent video at the top of the page, The Comprehensive Course for Accessing 2020 Census Redistricting Data. View additional recorded webinars going back to 2016 here.

In October, also co-sponsored by IGIC and GENI, the SDC offered a webinar for accessing the data, “Accessing Data for Local Redistricting.”

In November, for Indiana Library Federation attendees, the SDC Program provided “Finding and Using Indiana’s Data Access Points, Census and More.” Thank you for those of you who were able to attend under challenging circumstances!

This month, the Indiana State Data Center hosted its annual training meeting online. Our three speakers from the Census Bureau were Andrew W Hait, Ronald Williams and Michael B Hawes. Recordings of these sessions will be available soon and each session will be eligible for one LEU for Indiana library staff.

In the summer of 2022, the Census Bureau will release a file called the DHC, or the Demographic and Housing Characteristics file. This will contain what has been called in the past – Summary File One, or SF1 data – for the 2020 Census. The State Data Center will provide access to the data and training for retrieving the data upon release.

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

The US Congressional Serial Set – “So marked a characteristic of the present age.”

At first glance, it may appear that the U.S. Congressional Serial Set is pretty dull stuff. Firstly, there is the sheer volume of material – over 13 million pages, or three-fifths of a mile of shelving.

Then, there is the definition:

The Serial Set is comprised of the numbered Senate and House Documents and Senate and House Reports, bound by session of Congress. The contents of the Serial Set have varied throughout the publication’s history, and at times have included House and Senate Journals, and the reports of executive departments and agencies.

Each volume is assigned a Serial Number, beginning with the 1st Session of the 15th Congress in 1817. Reports and Documents for each chamber are numbered sequentially by either Congress or session, depending on the year of publication.1

Not very glamorous.

Finally, there are the volume titles, comprised of nothing more than congress session numbers and dates.

Not so alluring.

If the reader is willing to dig deeper, however, he or she begins to discover why it is that many consider the Serial Set the jewel in the crown of government documents.

An account of Howard Stansbury’s Great Salt Lake Expedition is such an example.

The spine reads “32d Congress, Special Session Senate, March 4-13, 1851.” In contrast to this stark label, the content is a treasure trove.

Commissioned by the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, Stansbury led a group of men, accompanied by mules, supplies and expectations west into Utah. Their main objective was to provide a comprehensive survey of the Great Salt Lake, the Jordan River and Utah Lake. In addition, they were tasked with reporting on the local Indian tribes, the newly-relocated Mormons and the navigability of the Great Salt Lake, all while simultaneously finding a good spot for a military post and a wagon road connecting the Great Salt Lake Valley to the Oregon Trail.

Stansbury and his group did not disappoint. His report was comprised of detailed maps as well as reports on mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, botany, paleontology, chemical analysis of mineral waters and meteorological observations.

As a daguerreotypist did not join the expedition, the volume contains numerous and charming depictions of the people and flora and fauna that dotted the remote landscape.

So important is the Serial Set, that the GPO and the Law Library of Congress have teamed up to digitize the entire collection, even though it is already available commercially.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of the Stansbury Expedition is that it is but one of many commissioned by Congress and available either digitally or at the Indiana State Library. It is little wonder that in his introduction, Stansbury imagined the reports that came out of the expedition would be of interest to readers as they were “so marked a characteristic of the present age.”

So was the Serial Set 150 years ago, and so it is today.

This blog post was written by Kate Mcginn, reference librarian, Indiana State Library.

1. https://www.govinfo.gov/help/serial-set

 

Challenging Indiana library collections

Throughout 2021, various concerted efforts have been made nationwide to challenge and even censor library collections. Indiana libraries have not been exempt from these attempts. Some Indiana school board meetings have taken an unexpected turn from discussing operational and COVID protocols to attempts to gut school library collections related to hot-button topics like race or gender issues. Additionally, there was even an unsuccessful attempt at legislation that could have punished individual school and public library staff for distributing “harmful material” to minors.

Challenges to library materials have been around for as long as library collections have been around. Even in the late 19th and early 20th century, as most of Indiana public libraries were being formed, some protested fiction in public library collections, as novels were believed to be distracting and frivolous. More recently, attempts have been made to ban several books commonly regarded as classics, and even The Holy Bible made the list of top 10 challenged titles in 2015.

What is troubling about these efforts is that they go against the principles of libraries and librarianship, which is to provide free and open access to information, without judgment. One of the tenets of librarianship is the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, which affirms:

…that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background or views.
  6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
  7. All people, regardless of origin, age, background or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom provides nationwide support, consulting and training for libraries facing collection challenges and works to track trends in challenges, geographically or title and topic-wise.

Public and school libraries are required by the Indiana Code and Indiana Administrative Code to have collection development or materials selection policies. Like other library policies, these policies are authored and enforced at the local level. Policies should include the rationale behind materials selection, in an effort to collect materials appropriate for the library’s own community, while being impartial and representative of all viewpoints.

Patrons or parents concerned with materials in their library’s collection are able to challenge materials. A library’s collection development policy should guide the process for challenges, reconsideration or withdrawal. Some libraries provide patrons with a paper or web form that can be completed and turned in to library staff. Others require the challenge be brought to the library or school board. While the public is welcome to challenge materials, withdrawal is rare, as it is likely the item was initially purchased in alignment with the library board’s policy. In some cases (e.g., for a children’s book including sensitive or mature topics) access may be restricted instead.

The Indiana State Library provides support and guidance to library staff in developing or revising their collection development policies and responding to challenges. Additionally, the Indiana Library Federation’s Legislative Advocacy and Intellectual Freedom Committees have been leaders in helping Indiana libraries face this year’s challenges. Hoosier librarians will continue to ensure there is something for everyone on Indiana library shelves.

This post was written by Jen Clifton, Library Development Office.

Save the date – 2022 online learning, conferences and webinar opportunities

The Professional Development Office at the Indiana State Library is in the process of developing our 2022 webinar offerings. The What’s Up Wednesday webinar training series will continue to be held on the last Wednesday of each month. Additionally, the What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED webinar series will be held on the second Wednesday of each month.

Many of our webinar topics are still in the process of being scheduled and will be noted with TBD. Some of the topics that are in development include – onboarding and offboarding staff, going through a disaster at your library, website accessibility and cybersecurity at the library. Be sure to check back on the Indiana State Library calendar for updates and registration links.

Additional training can be found on the Indiana State Library’s website on these pages:
Monthly Upcoming Free Training list
Indiana State Library Continuing Education Toolkit
Evergreen Indiana Training calendar
Indiana State Library’s Online Training

Below, you will find dates for the Indiana State Library’s training and professional development events as well as notable national conferences.

January 2022

February2022

  • Feb. 3 – “In Conversation with the Little Free Library Organization”
  • Feb. 9 - ”What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED” with EBSCO trainer Lisa Jones
  • Feb. 23 - What’s Up Wednesday (TBD)
  • Feb. 25 – Big Talk from Small Libraries

March2022

  • March 9 - “What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED: Health and Medicine Databases”
  • March 16 Indiana 211 & Libraries
  • March 23-25 – Public Library Association Conference – Portland, Oregon
  • March 30 – What’s Up Wednesday (TBD)

April 2022

  • April 13 - “What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED” with EBSCO trainer Lisa Jones
  • April 27 - What’s Up Wednesday (TBD)

May 2022

  • May 11 - What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED
  • May 25 - “What’s Up Wednesday: Library Reads and Your Library”

June 2022

  • June 8 - “What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED: I See a Library! Making Libraries More Accessible to the Visually Impaired”
  • June 23-28 – American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition – Washington, DC
  • June 29 - “What’s Up Wednesday: NetGalley for Libraries: Live Demo and Overview”

July 2022

  • July 13 – What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED
  • July 27 - What’s Up Wednesday (TBD)

August 2022

September 2022

  • Sept. 14 - What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED
  • Sept. 14-17 – ARSL – Association for Rural & Small Libraries – Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Sept. 23 - The DIY – Difference is You Conference
  • Sept. 28 - What’s Up Wednesday (TBD)

October 2022

  • Oct. 12 - What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED
  • Oct. 26 - What’s Up Wednesday (TBD)

November 2022

December 2022

Happy Holidays from the Professional Development Office!

This post was written by Northeast regional coordinator Paula Newcom, Professional Development Office.

Poetry from the collections of the Indiana State Library

There is no shortage of poetry in the collections of the Indiana State Library, from published works to ephemeral poems, many tucked away in letters or scrapbooks. This is a look into pieces left by the amateur poets of Indiana – every day Hoosiers creating with language based on their lives, loves and experiences.

Many of the poems within the Manuscripts Division exist as collections unto themselves. They are often a single poem with little information about their creation or author. This further lends to the idea that they existed solely as a personal exercise for their creator or perhaps a gift to someone. The themes represented in a selection of the poems in the Manuscripts Division are some of the most quintessential in poetry: love and relationships, war and loss. These are all topics that have driven humans to create songs, ballads and other forms of poetry throughout history.

The following two poems are examples of themes on love and relationships – mostly the complicated variety. They are both anonymous. “Song of a Fellow” is signed by “Eva” and tells of an unimpressive suitor who failed to woo her. “The Reconcilement” is about the ups and downs in a marriage. Both poems are also written on small scraps of paper.

“The Watchmen of Dover” is a poem about England in World War II by Wilbur Sheron of Marion, Indiana. Sheron’s biography indicates he wrote a number of poems. It’s likely that this may have been intended for other readership as he lists himself as the author as well as his contact information.

“At Early Candlelight” tells the tale of an older man reminiscing in the early evening about his lost family and how he will meet them in heaven. It is on two small scraps of paper, but is also entitled and signed by the author, Robert McIntyre. No information is available about him.

This next poem was found in the scrapbook of Caroline Furbay, saved from her friend Charles William Alber, both also from Marion, Indiana. What a pleasant way to say, “It’s the thought that counts!”

Poets have formed groups in Indiana to share their work, such as the Poetry Society of Indiana, first formed as the Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs in 1941. The Manuscripts Division holds collections from some of these groups and the writers involved, such as the aforementioned club and the Poets’ Study Club of Terre Haute. The INverse Poetry Archive is also part of the Manuscripts Collection and collects poems submitted by Hoosiers on an annual basis.

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.”