New changes regarding the administration of Indiana librarian certification

Indiana law has required some form of librarian certification program for many years. The belief is that individuals who go to libraries for assistance should receive quality guidance and information. The way to assure this is to require some basic minimum requirements for Indiana librarians.

The Indiana State Library administers the librarian certification program for Indiana and has historically relied on technology and software provided by the Professional Licensing Agency to make this happen. For the past 13 years, the State Library has contracted with the Professional Licensing Agency to provide a number of services including maintaining our database of certified librarians, processing online renewals, and mailing out renewal reminders, audit notices, and certificates for us. As of July 1, 2021, the State Library moved all of those functions in-house.

Our new system is designed specifically for Indiana librarian certification. Since it no longer needs to meet the demands of many different state agencies, each with different requirements, our new certification portal is simpler, more streamlined, and we think it is more intuitive. Currently, the new portal only replaces the functions that the Professional Licensing Agency had been performing for us, but over the long term we expect to expand the number of services and payments that can be handled online.

Things that have changed with the new portal:

  • We are using a different credit card service to process online payments. The new service charges lower fees and those savings are passed on to the librarians so they spend less on their transactions than before.
  • Correspondence with certified librarians now takes place almost entirely by email. In the past most of our communications have been printed and sent by the Professional Licensing Agency using the U.S. Postal Service. Renewal reminders and random audit notices are now sent by email.
  • In the new portal, librarians are able to print out a digital permit or certificate as soon as it has been approved.
  • Because our new certification portal has been designed in house, it bears some similarity to other services administered by the State Library, such as InfoExpress or Indiana Legacy. We think this makes the portal easier to learn and more intuitive to use.
  • The State Library never asks for librarian Social Security numbers or birth dates. However, recent changes to the login screen for the Professional Licensing Agency’s system made it seem like we were asking for that information from librarians as an option for logging into their account. That will never happen in our new portal.
  • The public look up page for librarians will also take place through the new certification portal.
  • Librarians will no longer be required to create an Access Indiana account to log into their record.
  • The State Library is able to troubleshoot all technical issues in house which leads to faster resolution in the event an issue arises.

The State Library is very excited about the new librarian certification portal. It is an exciting new tool to help us provide services to librarians who are certified, those who wish to become certified and the public who may wish to look up a librarian to verify certification. For more information about the certification portal or certification for Indiana librarians, click here. You can check out the new certification portal itself by clicking here.

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

Who’s in charge? Public library boards in Indiana

Public board meetings have been all over the news lately, and public libraries haven’t been exempt. Even a seemingly quiet place like a library can be subject to unpopular decisions and conflict daily, frustrating both staff and patrons. A well-functioning library board is an essential component of an effective and welcoming library, and there are a number of laws that help ensure a library has one.

So how do public library boards work in Indiana and what are their responsibilities? Nearly all of the 236 public libraries in Indiana are governed by a seven-member board of trustees. These trustees gather monthly, in person or electronically, to meet with the library’s director and assist them in leading the library, to propose and evaluate library policies, to monitor the library’s progress on its strategic plan and to approve expenditures in accordance with the library budget.

In Indiana, public library trustees are not elected, but instead appointed, by local elected officials which may include representatives from their local county and school corporation. Trustees serve four-year terms which may be renewed for up to four consecutive terms, or 16 years total. There are some exceptions where trustees may serve even longer than that (e.g., if a trustee had joined by filling in for a vacant partial term, or if a diligent search of a small community did not produce a new qualified candidate). Trustees receive no compensation for their service.

Public library trustees are community members of the library they serve. In fact, trustees are required to have resided in the service area of the library they will serve for at least two years immediately before becoming a trustee. Ideally, public library trustees should be library users themselves. They should be advocates for the library in the community. They should be lifelong learners and willing to seek professional development opportunities to hone their skills as a trustee. Most importantly, they should always make decisions with the community’s needs in mind. All public library trustees are required to take an oath of office before serving.

Per the Indiana Open Door law, public library board meetings are open to the public to attend. Whether or not public comment is on the agenda is determined locally by the policies of each library board. There are rare occasions that a board may hold an executive – or private – session, in which case they are required to post a meeting notice stating the reason for meeting in private. Boards are not allowed to vote or take final action in an executive session.

The Indiana State Library provides support for Indiana public library trustees in the form of consultations, trainings  – recorded, virtual or live – and even a trustee manual, recently updated for 2021. We are also happy to connect library patrons with their local library board if needed. We usually recommend that anyone with a board concern try to reach out to the library’s director first. If they would still like to contact the board, they can send correspondence care of the library or attend a public meeting.

If you are interested in serving as a trustee at your Indiana public library, you may contact the library board or the various appointing authorities in your service area to let them know you are interested in serving should a vacancy arise. Even then, the appointing authorities have the final decision on selection. Additionally, the appointing authorities are the only individuals with the power to remove a board member should the need ever arise.

To read the Indiana Code related to library board duties and composition, click here.

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

Conservation of a 1913 panoramic photograph

In July and August, Marissa Bartz, the Indiana State Library’s 2021 graduate conservation intern, worked on a panoramic photograph from the Rare Books and Manuscripts division which had become adhered to glass in multiple locations. It’s common for photographic prints to become stuck to the glass they have been framed in over time when exposed to water, which is why they should be properly mounted to prevent them from touching the surface. In addition, the conditions of the framing and other factors had caused tears, cockling and staining, so the photograph was in poor shape overall.

Before treatment

This particular panorama captures the flooding of the White River in March 1913. Often referred to as “The Great Flood,” this event displaced thousands, with an estimated 7,000 Indianapolis residents and around 200,000 Hoosiers altogether losing their homes. The peak of the White River flooding was estimated at over 30 feet above the flood line.

Photo adhered to glass

Commonly called a “cirkut” photo, this shot was taken by North H. Losey, located at 539 N. Meridian St. It is a particularly large example, over 62 inches wide, so it was no small challenge for Marissa!

Cardboard used as backing frame

It was discovered that the photograph was also adhered to the corrugated cardboard that was used as backing in the frame, causing additional problems. Marissa began by removing the backing mechanically with a spatula and scalpel.

Conservation intern Marissa Bartz removing the corrugated board from the back of the photograph

After this, areas that were stuck to the glass were be humidified from the back to soften and swell the gelatin emulsion. A piece of mylar was inserted between the glass and the photograph to gently release the emulsion from the surface of the glass.

Conservation intern Marissa Bartz washing a section of the photograph to remove staining

A solution of methylcellulose was applied to the emulsion and left to dry. Then a flat blade was used to carefully scrape the emulsion film off the glass and re-adhere it back to the photograph.

Tears were then repaired with wheat starch paste and Japanese tissue. Areas of loss, particularly in tears, were consolidated using warm gelatin.

Conservation intern Marissa Bartz removing the photo from the glass

Conservation intern Marissa Bartz putting the pieces of the photo back together

Conservation intern Marissa Bartz surface cleaning the photograph

In-painting with watercolors was also done in areas of loss.

After treatment

The photograph is now stable and was returned to the original frame, this time with sheet of mylar protecting it from the glass. Now free from stress and protected from acidic conditions and soiling from the environment, this photograph is now stable and preserved for the future.

This post was written by Victoria Duncan, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor. 

‘Indiana’s Great Outdoors’ Statehood Day essay contest now accepting submissions

The Indiana Center for the Book is hosting an essay competition to commemorate Indiana’s 205th Statehood Day. This year’s theme is “Indiana’s Great Outdoors.” The Statehood Day Essay Contest takes place annually in the fall and is open to all Indiana fourth graders. The essays are judged by a panel of Indiana State Library staff and volunteer educators.

Essays should be well organized and reflective of the theme “Indiana’s Great Outdoors.” Judges are looking forward to seeing students’ interpretation of the theme. Some ideas to help them include: Why is nature important? How do you enjoy nature in Indiana? Why are water and other natural resources important? What outdoor recreational spots in Indiana are special to you? Why is nature important to a great state?

Winners of the essay contest will be honored on Friday, Dec. 10 in a ceremony that may be in-person or may be virtual. The winners will be expected to record their essays for a virtual ceremony. In-person ceremonies may take place at the Indiana Statehouse or other locations, pandemic permitting.

The first-place winner receives a CollegeChoice 529 deposit of $250, while the second, third and fourth-place winners receive CollegeChoice deposits of $150.

Essay Contest Rules

  • The competition is open to any Indiana fourth grade public, private or homeschooled student in the 2021-22 school year.
  • A panel of judges will choose the first, second, third, and fourth place winners.
    Essays must range from 100 to 300 words; handwritten or typed.
  • Essays must be submitted with an entry form.
  • Individual entries should use the 2021 Individual Entry Form.
  • Class sets should use the 2021 Group Entry Form. The following information should be included on each essay for class sets: student name, teacher name and school name.
  • All entries may be mailed or emailed.
  • Mailed entry forms can be sent to: Indiana Center for the Book Indiana State Library 140 N. Senate Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46204.
  • Mailed essays must be postmarked by Friday, Oct. 22, 2021.
  • Emailed entry forms can be sent to this email address as an attachment.
  • Emailed entries must be received by Friday, Oct. 22, 2021.
  • Click here for additional information about the 2021 Statehood Day essay contest, including lesson plans for teachers, and to view the 2020 winning essays.

Please contact Suzanne Walker, Indiana Center for the Book director, with any questions.

This blog post was submitted by Indiana Young Readers Center librarian Suzanne Walker.

Get more from Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library Edition is the library version of Ancestry.com, which has one of the largest genealogy collections available online. Their database includes vital records, censuses, city directories and military and immigration records to name a few! Some of the library’s most popular collections are the digitized Indiana marriage certificates from 1960-2005, Indiana death certificates from 1899-2011 and Indiana birth certificates from 1907-1940. Records like these are a goldmine for those with Indiana ancestors.

Ancestry Library Edition is available for free on any of the Indiana State Library public computers. Currently – courtesy of ProQuest and Ancestry – it is also available to many public library cardholders from home until December 2021. Please note that this option is not available through your Indiana State Library card account, but if your public library subscribes to Ancestry Library Edition check with them about getting remote access while it lasts.

In addition to genealogical records, like the Indiana birth, marriage and death certificates, Ancestry also includes an abundant photograph collection to enrich your family history research. Photos bring family history to life and reveal details about our ancestors that we just can’t get from documents. Through pictures we can learn how an ancestor styled their hair, how they dressed, items they had in their home or what their hometown looked like. Here are a few of the unique photo collections you’ll find in the Ancestry catalog:

U.S., Historic Catalogs of Sears, Roebuck and Co., 1896-1993

If you like to imagine the various odds and ends that could have made their way into your ancestor’s home, look no further than “The U.S., Historic Catalogs of Sears, Roebuck and Co.” collection. You can page through these catalogs on Ancestry just like you were holding a print copy. With many of the catalogs containing over a thousand pages each, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon poring through them. Find bizarre products once sold to consumers, such as the deadly sounding “Arsenic Complexion Wafers” or the “Asbestos Stove Mat” for sale in the spring of 1897 catalog. These catalogs sold more than you could possibly imagine like clothing, tools, games, tableware, candy, houses and so much more!

Fall 1921

Because they were so expansive, the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogs are also helpful to date a photo of an ancestor. Flip to the women’s or menswear sections to explore fashions or housewares during certain years and look for similar styles to those represented in the picture.

U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999

Shortridge 1922

Ancestry is home to the world’s largest searchable online yearbook collection. With over 10,000 yearbooks, you are certain to find a photo of an ancestor included. You can also search for a favorite celebrity or flip through the yearbooks from a favorite era. Did you ever wonder what Indiana native John Mellencamp looked like in his high school yearbook photos? Search the collection for his name to find out!

Many of the yearbooks contain details that offer us a glimpse into our ancestor’s personalities. In this Shortridge Annual from 1922 Rezina Bond is described as, “A cute little girl with bobbed hair, who doesn’t like very much to go to school.” Like the Sears, Roebuck, and Co. catalogs, these images and details are useful for dating family photos. One advantage they have over the catalogs is they depict what people actually wore in a specific time and place, rather than the idealized fashions in catalogs.

U.S., Identification Card Files of Prohibition Agents, 1920-1925

Prohibition agents were responsible for enforcing the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages. Their duties included making investigations, arresting bootleggers, closing down speakeasies and breaking up liquor rackets. Sometimes their work even involved run-ins with organized crime.

The collection contains identification card files for prohibition agents, inspectors, warehouse agents, narcotics agents and more. Search for ancestors who worked as agents or browse through the collection to see the faces and names of the individuals who held these positions. Famous prohibition agents such as Isador Einstein and partner Moe Smith, who would wear over-the-top disguises like a gravedigger or opera singer, are represented in this collection.

Motion Picture Studio Directories, 1919 and 1921

1921 Motion Picture Studio Directory

If you are interested in silent film era history, or have an ancestor who worked in the business, the 1919 and 1921 Motion Picture Studio Directories are right up your alley. These directories don’t simply include actors, they also list directors, writers, cinematographers and more. Discover wonderful biographical details like addresses, birth dates, career summaries, physical description and skills. Learn more about your favorite Hoosier actors, such as Pomeroy Cannon from New Albany and Monte Blue from Indianapolis.

U.S., Historical Postcards, 1893-1960

This collection has over 115,000 historical postcards searchable by state, keyword or location. If you are interested to know what your ancestor’s hometown looked like during a certain time you can search here for a postcard of it. This is also an interesting collection to look for historical images of your own city or town. This postcard captures Washington Street, a few short blocks away from the Indiana State Library.

To access these collections and to explore everything Ancestry Library Edition has to offer, visit the card catalog. Hit the search field in the menu along the top of the homepage and select Card Catalog. From there, browse through the collections, use the search boxes or check out the new stuff featured on the page. Filter your results by collection types, locations or dates in the menu on the left side of the page. If you click on Pictures in the left menu, you’ll be taken to most of the collections I’m featuring in this blog post, in addition to the various other photo collections in Ancestry.

I hope you enjoy taking a trip back in time and explore these collections the next time you visit the Indiana State Library or at home while it lasts.

This blog post is by Dagny Villegas, Genealogy Division librarian.

This woman’s work

It is easy to forget that women’s rights and suffrage efforts in the U.S. began much earlier than most of us realize. One such intrepid pioneer for women’s rights was the indomitable May Wright Sewall. Although born in Wisconsin, she and her husband moved to Indiana in the early 1870s. She was well-known around the state for being a proponent for equal and better-quality education for women. She later established the Indianapolis Classical School for Girls, which became a prestigious preparatory school.

May Wright Sewall, standing at the left end, and a group of women at Mount Vernon in Virginia. from the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collections.

Sewall believed women should have lives outside the home that included educational and cultural opportunities. She was a founder and first president of the Indiana Woman’s Club, which was founded in 1888. Sewall was instrumental in establishing the Indianapolis Propylaeum, which was a house built specifically for the cultural and educational edification of women’s clubs, including the Indiana Woman’s Club. A patron of the arts throughout her life, she was an officer in the Art Association in Indianapolis and was instrumental in helping establish the John Herron School of Art. Sewall was also a nationally known suffragist, and from 1899-1904, she was president of the International Council of Women.

In 1881, Sewall started writing a bi-weekly column in the early iteration of the Indianapolis Times. The column’s title was Woman’s Work. In the first article, which ran on Oct. 29, 1881, she states the reasons for the existence of the column and her goals in creating it. She notes that often, women’s names were not mentioned in newspapers or indeed in public unless they were the subject of a scandal or had died. She hoped that through her column, she could bring the importance of women’s “invisible” work in and outside the home to the forefront of the public’s attention.

This blog post was written by Leigh Anne Johnson, Indiana Division newspaper librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana Division at 317-232-3670 or via  “Ask-A-Librarian.

Redistricting data from the Census Bureau

The Indiana State Library’s Government Information Minute on Aug. 18 detailed the Census Bureau’s redistricting data release and gave the locations of several sources for the new data.

While it’s clear this data matters to demographers, local leaders and policy-makers, how does it apply to us as lifelong learners, the general public and the library community?

A first look at the data shows significant changes in the U.S. population taking place over the last ten years, from 2010 to 2020. While it is too early to tell the impact of COVID and new privacy methods on the national census, the new data says:

  1. The number of people who identify as Native American or Alaska Native – in combination with another race – rose more than any time in history between censuses. See 2020 Census Illuminates Racial and Ethnic Composition of the Country: “…the American Indian and Alaska Native alone or in combination population comprised 9.7 million people (2.9% of the total population) in 2020, up from 5.2 million (1.7%) in 2010.”
  2. The number of people who describe themselves as two or more races has increased more than any time in history, while the number of people who describe themselves as white has decreased. See 2020 Census Statistics Highlight Local Population Changes and Nation’s Racial and Ethnic Diversity: “The Multiracial population was measured at 9 million people in 2010 and is now 33.8 million people in 2020, a 276% increase.”

What makes these population changes so pertinent right now? The nature of diversity in the United States is expanding. Our identity as Americans, in a place where 331.4 million people made their homes in 2020, is reckoning with its past and looking toward its future. These new numbers inform the news we read, the fiction that entertains us, and the media we absorb. Recent events tell us the changing racial and ethnic makeup of the nation’s population affect each of us.

Use the 2020 Census Demographic Data Map Viewer to look for yourself. It allows you to see diversity in race, Hispanic/Latino ethnicity and age groups state by state. You can also read recently released publications and view the following data visualizations from the Census Bureau about population changes between 2010 and 2020.

Publications:
2020 Census: Racial and Ethnic Diversity Index by State
2020 Census Statistics Highlight Local Population Changes and Nation’s Racial and Ethnic Diversity
2020 United States Population More Racially Ethnically Diverse Than 2010
Improvements to the 2020 Census Race and Hispanic Origin Question Designs, Data Processing, and Coding Procedures
Measuring Racial and Ethnic Diversity for the 2020 Census
Race and Ethnicity in the United States: 2010 Census and 2020 Census

Data Visualizations:
Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the United States: 2010 Census and 2020 Census
U.S. Decennial Census Measurement of Race and Ethnicity Across the Decades: 1790–2020

In Indiana, according to the Census Bureau’s Diversity Index, there is a 41.3% chance that two people chosen at random in this state will be from a different racial and ethnic group from each other. While this is not as high on the Diversity Index as California, near the top at 69.7%, it is a much greater chance than in Maine, near the bottom at 18.5%. Hoosiers are in the middle of a shifting state of demography which varies county by county. See the Census Bureau’s map, Second-Most Prevalent Race or Ethnicity Group by County: 2020, from The Chance That Two People Chosen at Random Are of Different Race or Ethnicity Groups Has Increased Since 2010.

As states participate in the redistricting process, decisions matter at the local level. Indiana’s General Assembly website details Indiana’s redistricting process. Public meetings were held at cities across the state from Aug. 6-12 representing each of Indiana’s nine U.S. Congressional Districts. You can watch the meetings on the website. Members of the public can also draw their own maps to contribute to the process. Locations for this will be at 19 Ivy Tech campuses. Ivy Tech librarians will help people use special software. Video instruction will be available on the website as well. More details will follow on the website.

Indiana libraries participated fully in the U.S. census despite COVID disruptions. As the pandemic changed everyone’s plans, we changed our approach to census outreach. Librarians directed energy and knowledge toward census promotion from 2019 through a census year with a changing timeline. Our displays were up. We posted on social media instead of having live events to encourage response. We showed our communities how important it was to answer, and how much easier it was to complete online. When it was safe, we welcomed the public to use our computers to fill out the census. These sincere efforts during disquieted times are what make our libraries the best.

The changing face of diversity, as the story is told by the census, continues its thread through our libraries as well. Following in the steps of the corporate world, libraries are hiring diversity and inclusion officers and holding programs that challenge patrons to think seriously about current events. We all have a role to play in the future of our communities. What will yours be?

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.

Dorm life

As summer draws to a close, thousands of college students will begin their migrations to campuses throughout the state. Both Indiana University and Purdue anticipate having their largest incoming freshman classes ever with Purdue expecting over 10,000 new students and IU planning for over 9,000. Many of these students will be moving into dorms and some of those dorms have seen multiple generations of students pass under their roofs. While the basic tenants of dorm living remain the same – providing a place for students to eat, sleep and study – much has changed in dorm life over the years.

Purdue University’s Wood Hall – now part of Windsor Halls – housed female students and in the 1940s featured several unique amenities:

“Much care has been given to meeting the personal needs of the residents. The laundries are equipped with electric washers, clothes driers, stationary tubs, ironing boards and electric irons… The shampoo rooms contain convenient sprays and electric hair dryers. The sewing rooms are equipped with electric machines, cutting tables and panel mirrors for those who do their own sewing or are majoring in clothing in the School of Home Economics.”

Additionally, the dorm featured a dedicated radio room as students were not allowed radios in their own rooms.

From Residence halls for women at Purdue (ISLO 378 P985 no. 175 [1942]).

Dorms often have their own set of rules and codes of conduct and these often reflected the social norms of the time. According to a 1950s-era guide for residents of the Cary Quadrangle at Purdue – which continues to exclusively house male students – each resident had to ensure his bed was made by noon each day. Since this particular dorm featured maid service, failure to make one’s bed or to leave the room untidy would result in the maid reporting the student which could ultimately lead to disciplinary action.

Another rule from the Cary Quad guidebook set out strict dress guidelines for eating at the dining hall:

From Men’s residence halls: guide for residents (ISLO 378 P985 no. 500).

Oddly, the 1971/72 issue of Indiana University’s guidebook to dorm living contains a very specific entry on its rules for serenading which must have been a popular enough social endeavor to warrant inclusion in the guidebook:

From Your key to residence hall living (ISLO 378 Iu385 no. 212).

Students have always been encouraged to personalize the small amounts of living space allotted to them. In past eras, this often involved decorating the walls with posters and maybe having a few personal items out on display. By necessity, modern students must cram much more into their rooms. Mini refrigerators, computers, televisions and gaming systems now all compete for space.

Dorm room at Indiana State College ca. 1964. From Opportunities for you (ISLO 378 IS385 no. 38).

Dorm scenes at Indiana University, early 1970s. From Your key to residence hall living (ISLO 378 Iu385 no. 212).

Dorm room at Valparaiso University, ca. 2004. From The Beacon (ISLI 378 V211be 2003/04).

One aspect of dorm life which hasn’t changed much over the years is the tradition commonly called Move-In Day where hundreds of students haul all their personal belongings to their new home. Often chaotic, sometimes emotional, and usually requiring the extra hands of parents and other family members, Move-In Day marks the official beginning of the school year for many students.

Move-In Day at Ball State University, ca. 1980. From The Orient (ISLI 378 B187o 1981).

The Indiana State Library contains an extensive collection of materials such as yearbooks, course catalogs, promotional materials and other publications related to the many colleges and universities in the state.

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.”

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

The Indiana State Library is pleased to announce that it has received $3,471,810 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act to support libraries and library services in the State of Indiana. The Institute of Museum and Library Services distributed $178 million to state libraries, who were then tasked with putting the funds to good use. The Indiana State Library opted to put more than half of their allocation directly in public and academic libraries’ hands by awarding ARPA sub-grants.

This isn’t the first grant the State Library created in response to the COVID pandemic. Last year’s CARES Act mini-grants helped libraries to defray the unexpected expenses necessitated by the COVID pandemic: masks and plexiglass dividers, stanchions for curbside pick-up, additional e-books and streaming movies for the times the buildings were closed, etc. 335 mini-grants were awarded to the tune of more than $650,000. While CARES addressed immediate needs, ARPA grants ask libraries to look into the future and consider what they can do to welcome back and safely serve the public moving forward.

So, what does that look like? For many, that’s finding a way to increase remote and outdoor access to library services. Some libraries envisioned outdoor areas equipped with Wi-Fi and furnishings to allow people to access the internet even while the doors might be closed, or to offer safer, open-air venues for programming. Others hope for some sort of bookmobile or delivery vehicle to make home services a reality. Many see the value in remote locker systems that would allow the public to pick up library materials after hours or during closures with no staff interaction. There are projects that expand the technology infrastructure, projects revolving around easily sanitized furnishings and better HVAC systems, and projects centered on staff training for a post-pandemic reality. In total, we received 154 applications detailing projects costing anywhere from the $5,000 minimum to even more than the $100,000 maximum possible award.

Now begins the challenging task of reviewing each project and deciding how much to award. While the state library aims to offer at least some assistance for all eligible projects, more than $7 million dollars was requested against the $2.4 million dollars allocated for aid. Grants should be awarded in October – which means there might be some exciting things happening at your local library later this year and through 2022!

All questions regrading ARPA grants may be sent here. The State Library’s ARPA Grants for Indiana Libraries page offers more information on the grants.

This blog post was written by Angela Fox, LSTA grant consultant in the Library Development Office at the Indiana State Library.

Post road map of Indiana, 1904

Two regular questions that come across the reference desk can be answered using post office resources. The first common question is about a place name. The researcher may have a reference to a place, but that “place” is not a city or town. We often discover it’s a post office name. The Indiana State Library has a card file of post offices in Indiana. The card contains details including date the post office opened and when it may have been discontinued. These post office cards were used in making the handy reference book “From Needmore to Prosperity: Hoosier Place Names in Folklore and History” (Baker, 1995). Perhaps your library has this book.

The other request is to locate a modern address when all they know is the rural route, which is often the only detail a county farm directory would have listed. This is much more difficult to answer. There are a couple maps we can use to help find the mail route, but not the exact home. We have two sets of Post Office department maps by county, we have a set from about 1910 and another set from about 1940. The State Library has made the set from 1910 available online here. Additionally, a 1904 statewide post route map of Indiana is available online here.

The 1904 post route map is nice because one can get a larger picture of the mail system than the county maps offer. The map shows post offices, mail routes and frequency of service. According to this map, most post offices and rural routes were getting mail up to six times a week; however, some little hamlets got mail only three times a week. Mail routes were added from year to year. Using a searchable newspaper database, one may be able to find detailed route descriptions. Take for example the Salem Democrat in 1903. They published the postmasters’ detailed reporting of how many houses are on the route, how many people are served and the length of the route. Here is an example of how Rural Route 11 out of Pekin is described.

Visit the USPS website for more history about rural routes. The development of the postal system is interesting and gives context to rural life and road improvements. Rural mail delivery was thought to help keep young people on the farm since they could receive reading materials and catalogs, perhaps diminishing the appeal of town.  Additionally, rural postal routes are credited with road development throughout the nation. This article from the Fort Wayne News makes sure to lay the blame for lack of mail service on the road supervisor. Once the roads are improved, mail service will resume.

Finally, for the adventurous researcher, National Archives holds the records from the Post Office Department. Among the records are correspondence, reports and supporting documents regarding proposed rural route establishments and changes, filed by state and county. These unique tools will offer researchers geographic information for years to come.

This post was written by Monique Howell, Indiana Collection supervisor.