What to expect when you visit the Indiana State Library in 2024

The Indiana State Library offers books for people of all ages, and much, much more. The State Library is a peaceful, beautiful place for learning and exploring. We have something for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can walk around and look at the beautiful architecture and stained-glass windows, or they can simply find a book and make themselves comfy for a while. The library has public computers or tables where one can sit and study.

How can someone get a library card?
Every Indiana resident can have an Indiana State Library library card. Just stop by and see us and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Any citizen of the state of Indiana is eligible to obtain a State Library library card. When a patron requests the issuance of a card, they will be required to complete the information on the Indiana State Library Card Registration Form – state form 44689 – and provide a picture ID. This ID may be a valid Indiana driver’s license; valid Indiana state identification card; valid U.S. Government issued identification (e.g., passport, military ID, permanent resident card, other employment ID with a current address or other picture ID of this type).

Hours of operation
The Indiana State Library is open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month, with some exceptions. For a complete list of library hours, open Saturdays and holiday closures, click here.

Parking information
Many downtown garages within walking distance of the State Library offer commercial parking. Metered parking is available on most downtown streets, including Ohio Street. and Senate Avenue. An interactive map showing parking in downtown Indianapolis is available from Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.

Please note that construction of a new Indiana State Archives building on Ohio Street, across from the State Library, began in August of 2023. Construction will last approximately 2.5 years and will affect street parking. During this time, please park in the Senate Avenue parking garage directly across from the library and bring your ticket in for validation.

Indiana Statehouse Tour Office and Education Center Native Plant Garden at the Indiana State Library.

Directions to the Indiana State Library
The Indiana State Library is located at 315 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis near the Canal Walk. Click here to get directions.

Patrons should enter through the entrance on Ohio Street. The door on Senate Avenue is not a public entrance.

So, plan a trip to your Indiana State Library. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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

Cultivating a family history garden

Spring has arrived and many genealogists will be putting their research aside to spend more time outdoors, but did you know you don’t have to choose one over the other? Take your genealogy outside by growing plants with ties to your family heritage.

Children working in a garden during World War I. From the Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

In addition to reaping the benefits of spending time in nature and beautifying your outdoor space, gardening with ancestors in mind brings family history to life. It may come naturally to those who don’t even realize starting the seeds an aunt passed down or planting grandma’s favorite tomato variety is a connection to their heritage. Others may be interested in learning more about the flowers, fruits and vegetables their ancestors raised so they can grow them as well.

The simplest way to get started is by taking inventory of your own memories and noting plants which are meaningful to you and your family. For example, my grandmother grew grapes and hot peppers in the backyard garden of her small ranch-style home in Speedway. In the limited space she had, she chose those specific plants for a reason. She probably learned to raise them from her own mother while she was a young girl. Planting them in my garden doesn’t just remind me of my grandmother’s loving kindness, it’s a connection to those ancestors that passed along their knowledge of growing those plants for generations.

Next, reach out to family members and ask about their gardens or what they remember growing in their childhood. In these conversations you may discover that your relatives still have access to some prized family favorites. They may be willing to gift you a clipping from a raspberry bush that’s been in the family for generations or share seeds from prize-winning pumpkins. Maybe you’ll learn there are treasured plants at the family homestead that you could transplant into your own space.

After harvest jubilee, ca. 1929. From the Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

Before you abandon your genealogy research to start planting, use it to learn about the crops ancestors once grew. There are many helpful resources to search for information. For example, the U.S. agricultural censuses inventory the livestock and produce raised by farmers. If your ancestors are from Indiana, the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 Indiana agricultural censuses are available at The Indiana State Library on microfilm. Ancestry Library Edition can be searched for free on the library’s computers and includes agricultural censuses from various other U.S. states. For example, I learned from this 1860 Pickaway County, Ohio agricultural census my ancestor grew corn, oats, potatoes and wheat on their farm.

1860 U.S. Federal Census Agricultural Schedule. From Ancestry.com.

The U.S. federal census is another potential resource. For example, the 1920 census of Kosciusko County, Indiana identifies Frank Stellingworf of 52 Chapman Road as a celery farmer. While it is often overlooked, it’s rare to have a holiday meal that doesn’t include one or more dishes with celery as an ingredient. It was also commonly grown by Dutch immigrants, like Mr. Stellingworf. If you have Dutch ancestors that grew celery, you could connect to that heritage by growing it in your garden.

1920 U.S. Federal Census. From Ancestry.com.

In another example, Oscar Fredrick and Ora Poe are listed on this 1920 Knox County, Indiana census as melon farmers. There are few things sweeter than fresh Indiana melon in the summertime.

1920 U.S. Federal Census. From Ancestry.com.

The library’s newspaper databases include news about local farms, gardeners or gardens. By searching these databases, you may learn interesting tidbits about your family, like that your relative grew the largest pumpkin, planted the sweetest strawberries or raised the fattest carrot in their town. For example, Earl Grider is shown below with an impressive ten-pound cucumber that is taller than his 3-year-old son.

The Republic, Aug. 19, 1964. From Newspapers.com.

Mike Vulk, is pictured standing inside of the plot he grew on a small strip of land on Maryland St. in 1934. He didn’t allow the lack of a yard to stop him from growing carrots, beans, cabbage, and corn in his city garden.

From the June 23, 1934 Indianapolis Times:

“Trucks and automobiles whiz by Mr. Vulk’s garden daily; just across the street, workmen in a factory have watched its progress with interest. But Mr. Vulk doesn’t think it anything unusual. He eyes the green, flourishing rows of vegetables with satisfaction.

 

‘A fine garden!’ Mr. Vulk comments. ‘There’s many a good kettle of soup that will come out of that garden.’

 

And the scarecrow doesn’t answer a word.”

Indianapolis Times, June 23, 1934. From Newspapers.com.

During wartime, many people planted Victory Gardens to support the effort and supplement groceries. Victory Gardens were reported on in the newspapers frequently to promote them within the community. According to this article in Evansville Courier Sun featuring a lovely Mrs. Kenneth Miller working in her Victory Garden while inexplicably wearing fine clothes and pearls, “Mrs. Miller digs into the soil which she hopes will fork over plenty of corn, beets, potatoes and what have you in the vegetable line to chase away the ration point blues.”

Evansville Courier Sun, April 22, 1945. From Newspapers.com.

County histories often include details on early farm life and the local flora and fauna. By researching the history of the area you may discover the plants your ancestors were likely to encounter or grow. For example, “The History of Hancock County, Indiana; Its People, Industries and Institutions” by George J. Richman describes the principal crops, soil types, native plants and animals and area farms. The Indiana State Library has numerous county histories in the collection, and you may find some digitized online you can read for free on websites such as Archive.org or Familysearch.org.

There are few things more satisfying than harvesting fresh ingredients from your own garden and incorporating them into family meals. Pass those memories on to the next generation by preserving your connections to those home-grown foods. Books like, “From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes” by author Gena Philibert-Ortega and “Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions” by Valerie J. Frey offer insights and ideas on how to share that history with your family.

Now is a perfect time to share the gift of your garden with your loved ones while connecting it to your family story.

However you choose to celebrate springtime with your family, I wish you a very happy and fruitful season!

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

Lindke v. Freed and O’Connor-Ratcliff v Garnier: Balancing free speech and social media moderation

In the digital age, social media platforms have become virtual town squares where citizens engage in robust discussions, express their opinions and interact with public officials. The cases of Lindke v. Freed and O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier delve into the delicate balance between free speech rights and the authority of public officials to moderate their social media pages.

In Lindke v. Freed, James Freed, the city manager of Port Huron, Michigan, maintained an active Facebook presence. His page served as a platform for both personal posts and official communications related to his role as city manager. Like many public figures, Freed received comments from constituents, including Kevin Lindke. Lindke expressed his dissatisfaction with the city’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Freed’s Facebook page. Initially, Freed deleted Lindke’s comments, and later, he blocked Lindke from commenting altogether. Lindke argued that Freed’s actions violated his First Amendment rights, asserting that the page was a public forum.

In O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier, two individuals, O’Connor-Ratcliff and T.J. Zane, created public Facebook pages to promote their campaigns for election to the Poway Unified School District Board of Trustees. Both also had personal Facebook pages they shared with friends and family. After winning the election, O’Connor-Ratcliff and Zane continued to use their public pages to discuss school related business. They also used their pages to solicit feedback and communicate with constituents. Christopher and Kimberly Garnier had children attending the Poway Unified School district. The Garniers often criticized the school board members and posted repetitive negative comments on the school board members’ social media posts. Initially, the negative comments were just deleted but then the Garniers’ were blocked from commenting altogether. The Garniers sued, saying their First Amendment rights were violated when they were blocked.

The central question before the Supreme Court in both cases was whether blocking the commentators constituted state action under 42 U.S.C. §1983. This statute allows individuals to seek redress when their federal constitutional or statutory rights are violated by someone acting “under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State.” The Court clarified that §1983 applies only to state actors. Private individuals’ actions do not fall within its scope. Thus, the critical issue was whether Freed, Zane, and O’Connor-Ratcliff’s management of their Facebook pages constituted state action.

The Supreme Court established a two-pronged test:

Actual Authority: the individual must possess actual authority to speak on behalf of the state regarding a specific matter.

Exercise of Authority: the individual must have purportedly exercised that authority in relevant social media posts.

The Court held that because his Facebook page was used for personal and business-related posts, Freed’s actions did not indisputably amount to state action under §1983. The Court remanded the case back to the Sixth Circuit so that the Sixth Circuit could analyze the posts Lindke commented on using the new two-prong test to determine if Freed was exercising his authority to speak on behalf of the city. If so, the blocking would be problematic.

In O’Connor-Ratcliff v Garnier, the Court remanded the case back down to the Ninth Circuit to analyze the case under the new two-pronged test established by the Court. It is likely the Ninth Circuit will find as they did initially, that O’Connor-Ratcliff and Zane possessed actual authority to speak on school board matters and that they were doing so when using their public Facebook page to share school news and discuss school issues.

These decisions underscore the distinction between public and private actions on social media. Public officials must tread carefully when moderating their pages, balancing their personal rights with their official responsibilities. Citizens, too, should recognize that not every online interaction with a public figure constitutes state action. In the clash between free expression and social media moderation, it is important to remember that, while outright blocking could be problematic, public officials still have the right to moderate comments that violate their social media policies or that are not protected speech in the first place, such as obscene language, threats, fighting words, defamatory language, fraud, child porn and language that incites violence or implicates criminal conduct.

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

‘Preserve Your Family Treasures’ at the Indiana State Library

The Indiana State Library is celebrating Preservation Week this month by holding a conservation clinic and encouraging guests to stop in – and to bring their family heirlooms with them. A team of experienced conservators will be on hand at “Preserve Your Family Treasures: The Indiana State Library Public Conservation Clinic” to show individuals how to best care for antiques and artwork.

Conservators Seth Irwin of the Indiana State Library, Valinda Carroll of the Indiana Historical Society, Meghan Smith of the Indiana State Museum, Sharon Battista of S D Battista Paintings Conservation and Doug Sanders of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields will advise attendees on the best methods to store and preserve their documents, photographs, maps, textiles, paintings and small wood and metal pieces.

“A public conservation clinic is a great opportunity for people to interact with professional conservators, attain information about their valuable pieces and learn how to better preserve those pieces for the future,” Irwin said.

“Preserve Your Family Treasures” will take place in the Indiana State Library’s History Reference Room on Monday, April 29 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission is free and parking will be validated for those who park in the Senate Avenue garage, directly across from the library. The Indiana State Library is located at 315 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.

This event is designed to dispense advice on the preservation of objects. No monetary evaluations or appraisals will be conducted. Appointment and registration are encouraged, but not required.

The conservation clinic will also be available to attend online via Zoom. The in-person event is eligible for one LEU for Indiana library staff. The online version of the event is eligible for up to four LEUs for Indiana library staff based on the login attendance report. Click here to register for the in-person event and click here to register for the online event.

Please contact Seth Irwin, conservator at the Indiana State Library, with any questions about “Preserve Your Family Treasures: The Indiana State Library Public Conservation Clinic.”

This blog post was submitted by John Wekluk, communications director. 

Census Bureau director Robert L. Santos visits Indiana State Library

Last month, on Feb. 23, the Indiana State Library had the honor and privilege of welcoming Census Bureau director Robert L. Santos. He was here to visit the Indiana State Data Center and to listen to the Indiana SDC network of economists, librarians, GIS practitioners and other community partners share experiences about supporting the public with census data.

Director Robert Santos, Katie Springer and Jennifer Dublin on the stairs leading to the Great Hall in the Indiana State Library.

Director Santos grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He attended the University of Michigan, where he earned his graduate degree in Statistics, which spurred him toward a 40-year career as a statistician. He has served at many reputable institutions across the nation, including two here in the Midwest: the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

During his visit, we were happy to share with him the history of the Census Bureau’s State Data Center Program as it relates to Indianapolis. As Jeff Barnett, a former Indiana State Data Center manager, wrote in Indiana Libraries in 1986, the Census Bureau’s Indiana Census Users Service Project was started here as an experimental program to gauge the needs of Indiana data users. In the spring of 1976, ICUSP staff visited over 150 Hoosier organizations to gather information on local census data usage from data users across the state. Libraries, universities and other community organizations participated in providing information to the Census Bureau. This was the framework for what would become the national State Data Center program in 1978. State Data Centers in four other states – the “prototype” SDCs according to Jerry O’Donnell of the Census Bureau – were the first to sign agreements with the Bureau in the late 1970s, as described by Michele Hayslett in Reference & User Services Quarterly in 2006.

Over the past four decades, this national network has grown to include State Data Centers in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas. We work in collaboration with the Census Information Centers to provide data access and training to communities who need us.

Director Robert Santos facilitates a discussion with the Indiana SDC Network at the Indiana State Library.

At the heart of the SDC-CIC program is the data user – who they are, what they need, how they work and what they’re thinking. We perform outreach face-to-face, by phone and online, reaching data users where they are. Here at the Indiana State Data Center, we hold our monthly Indiana Data User Group – known as IN-DUG – meetings and issue our quarterly newsletter, DataPoint. We keep the conversation going among our many partners on Listservs and social media. The State Data Center is open during State Library hours, five days per week and on one Saturday per month. The library is also available for data requests 24/7 through Ask-A-Librarian.

As Santos pointed our during his visit, actively and consistently engaging with diverse stakeholders for the best quality statistics is a continuous process throughout the decade. Data users need assistance in real time using census data that holds value for them. The SDCs and CICs are the bridge across the divide between expert and user. We help you locate, analyze and map the key data to feature in your story about your community. Ask us!

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

County histories in the Indiana State Library’s Historical Print Collection

For the genealogists and local historians out there, think about what your research would be like if you didn’t have those huge county histories published from the 1870s to the 1910s. Those over-800-page-books are packed with biographical sketches, early history, lists of names, events, schools… the list goes on! Think about how much we have gathered from them. Beginning in the 1990s, new updated county histories were published, as well as new book series with photographs and postcards.

But wait, what happened between the 1910s and the 1990s? Probably a lot, and that time period is the focus of the Indiana Division’s biggest digitization project – filling in the gap between those old county histories and the newer ones. The Indiana Division began to re-focus its digital county history collection a couple of years ago with a mission to fill in the gap from the 1920s to at least the 1960s. It’s going to take some time, but we hope will be worth it.

Our Indiana Historical Print Collection not only contains the odds and ends items that don’t fit into any of our specified categories, but it’s also morphed to become our focal point for the county histories.

So, what can you find? We’ve focused on travel brochures, chamber of commerce pamphlets and publications that were created for centennials and celebrations of small towns and communities across Indiana’s 92 counties – just to name a few. Here are some examples.

From Benton County, here is the first annual meeting of the Old Settlers Association from 1914. These associations were popular in the 1910s and 1920s and gathered information about the earliest settlers in the county.

How about the town of Bourbon in Marshall County? They celebrated “one hundred years of progress” in 1953. There are a lot of these types of pamphlets for small towns and communities. They were usually published with centennials. We’ve added several of these types of publications for several counties.

Down south, you can learn about Perry County with “A Tale of Tell City” and “Cannelton: What to See, Where to Go, What to Do.” These general information pamphlets, brochures and booklets were published to attract businesses and newcomers to the county.

You can also find smaller – fewer than 100 pages – telephone and county directories. Many of these are the old telephone books that were printed on the really thin paper, so it helps to preserve the originals. But, some are also city directories that can’t be found anyplace else online.

The print collection also includes our mineral springs collection.

At the time of this post, we’ve added materials for about 54 counties, with plans to keep adding more. You may also see the huge county histories in there as well, but they will be leaving since the are often easier to use on Internet Archives and/or Google Books. Don’t worry, you can still find links to those huge county histories online through our county history holdings guide, as well as our city directories and telephone book guides. Additionally, we have a telephone directory inventory.

If there seems to be very little for a county you are researching, please check back as we make our way through the 92 counties.

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

Indiana authors spotlight 

I love books! As a librarian, that probably doesn’t surprise anyone. I credit my love of books to my mom. She began reading to me as a baby. By the age of two, I had my Little Golden Books memorized and could “read” them to myself. I was very proud to be the only kindergartner that already had a well-loved card when we went on a field trip to the library to get our first library card. Long before I decided to pursue a career as a librarian, I knew I wanted to be writer. I had stories to tell, like all my favorite authors!

I can’t remember I time that I wasn’t writing. A notebook and pen graduated to a typewriter, then to a desktop computer and now a laptop. Five years ago, I decided to get serious about making my dream of holding in my hands a book that has my name on the cover a reality. I had no clue how to accomplish that. I turned to posting my work on platforms like Wattpad and Archive of Our Own and building up a community of support. The friendships that I cultivated gave me the courage to take that next step, self-publishing, but I still didn’t have a clue. Thankfully, I had a friend from high school that knew what she was doing and lead me on my journey to publishing my first book.

What a journey it has been! One of my favorite parts has been participating in local author fairs at libraries and other events around Indiana. Not only have I met some amazing readers, but many wonderful Indiana authors. I’m excited to cast a spotlight on three of these authors in this article.

Ben Oneal

Ben Oneal is the author of The Benjamin Kroh Series, The Serpent’s Gift Series and multi-genre short stories. Oneal started writing down his thoughts in his early 20s, but it wasn’t until he was older that he decided to get serious about turning those thoughts into books. His favorite part about being an author is the storytelling and sharing his stories with the world. Oneal tried in the beginning of his career to traditionally publish but soon decided to self-publish.

The Benjamin Kroh Series books are crime thrillers that follow Agent Benjamin Kroh of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit as he tracks down serial killers in various parts of the country. The first book finds him in Central, Indiana. For this series, Oneal said that he has always been interested in why people do the things they do. When he worked at General Motors in Anderson he worked with the man that was dubbed the Indiana Bluebeard. He killed his mom, probably his dad and three wives. Oneal actually dated the sister of the third wife that Bluebeard killed. That caused an interest in the mindset of serial killers.

For The Serpent’s Gift Series, Oneal was inspired by his love of the game “What If” to fuel the words that poured from his mind. For his short stories he was able to explore genres that did not lend themselves to novels. Oneal has had a lot of fun exploring the genres of horror, environmental, romance, and many more.

For more information on Ben Oneal, check out his website.

Mark Edward Langley

Mark Edward Langley is the author of the Arthur Nakai Mysteries and The Skye Roanhorse novels. Langley realized he wanted to be an author after reading Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series and Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee series. It stirred something inside him that told him this is what he needed to do. His favorite part of being an author is doing the research for each novel. He lives for delving deep enough into finding exactly what he needs to create the novel he is beginning and make his readers feel as though they were a part of it. Langley’s first two books were traditionally published and he then self-published his third book. His latest book, “Bloodlines: A Skye Roanhorse Novel” is being submitted by his new agent to the “big five” publishing houses.

Langley’s novels are contemporary southwestern mysteries. His Arthur Nakai series follows Arthur, who is a former Marine and CBP Shadow Wolf who now runs his own outfitting business in Northwest New Mexico. Between giving tenderfoots back country rides, he focuses on helping the Navajo people where they police and FBI cannot.

The Skye Roanhorse novels follow Skye Roanhorse. Roanshorse is a man with a troubled past. Three years ago, as the result of an officer involved shooting, he lost not only his position as a sergeant in the New Mexico State Police, but also his family and, ultimately, himself. Two-and-a-half years later, after being given a second chance by his close friend and deputy director of the New Mexico Livestock Board, Troy Riggs, Skye is assigned to remove three horses from a crime scene where a Hopi elder was found murdered. A few days later and 50 miles from that location, a prostitute is found murdered in the same way. Putting the elements of those two cases together Skye begins to put the facts together and comes to believe the murders may have a somewhat darker connection to the death of a renowned horse racing trainer in Santa Fe. As he navigates the facts of the three cases, his old intuitions and instincts reignite, leading him to reveal the killer’s identity and an even bigger revelation. “Bloodlines: A Skye Roanhorse Novel,” book one, is coming out this year.

For more information on Langley’s books, check out his website.

Amy Brailey

Amy Brailey is the author of The Ideal Courtship Trilogy, a young adult series. Brailey won her first author contest in fourth grade and was able to go to the Young Author’s Conference. It was an amazing experience, and really fueled her love of writing. She’s always been a reader and thinks that being a reader and writer, to a degree, goes hand in hand. Brailey’s favorite part of being a writer is hearing from readers about how her books have impacted them. Brailey says that it is an amazing experience when readers share something meaningful or connects to her writing in an emotional way. There is truly nothing like it when readers take the extra time to share their experiences with her.

When Brailey decided to publish, she did consider traditional publishers, but when friends who were published shared how editors had changed the words and intent of their writing, she decided the message of the series was too important for someone else to have any control over. She does have future projects in mind that she would consider publishing traditionally because she isn’t tied to specific wording. For her, it will be a book-by-book decision.

Brailey got the idea to write The Ideal Courtship Trilogy when an eighth grader in her class was pregnant. It was around the time when all the young adult books like “Twilight,” “Hunger Games” and “Divergent” were coming out. All portrayed romance as making out in bed and in the books that is where it ended. In real life, not so much. She felt society was in part to blame for presenting that concept of romance to young girls. She wanted to write something romantic that wasn’t so sexual and really looked at our choices.

Brailey’s other books include a book about George Washington in the French Indian War that she wrote for boys who aren’t interested in history. She also wrote a parallel Shakespeare for use by teachers. She has a collection of “finish the stories” she’s working on for English teachers to use to prompt Free Write Fridays. Additionally, she is working on a collection of the hilarious and true things junior high students have said. The Ideal Courtship series is the only one currently out – she’s finishing the third book in that series – and then she will have time to pursue getting the others out there.

For more information on Brailey’s books and future projects you can follow her on Facebook.

I had a chance to ask each author this question, “What advice would you give an aspiring author?” This is how they replied.

Ben Oneal: “Keep writing. Believe that what you have to say, is important. Find an editor that you trust. One that will not just tell you what you want to hear but will edit your work in the most professional way possible. You may have the greatest story the world has ever known, but too many mistakes turn off even the most loyal reader. Just put your heart and soul into your words, trust your editor and keep writing.”

Mark Edward Langley: “Never give up. It is your dream; your goal. Do not let anyone talk you out of living it. Also, know that even if you have an agent and a publishing house, it is still up to you to market your book. Find a qualified publicist and let them promote your novel.”

Amy Brailey: “Write the books you want to read. John Green talked about the fact that you don’t write for everyone. You write for a specific group that will love what you do. I’m paraphrasing; his quote is better. But, I agree. Not everyone will like what you write. But, for those that do, it will dramatically impact them. Most importantly, write for yourself. Write because you have a voice and something to say. Write what you’re passionate about. And I’m cheering for you!”

To find more Indiana authors and their books visit, Indiana State Library: Indiana Center for the Book.

This blog post was submitted by Lacey Klemm, Northwest regional coordinator in the Professional Development Office of the Indiana State Library.

State Libraries around the states

“If you’ve seen one state library, you’ve seen one state library.” This quote, origin unknown, is a common joke shared among state librarians and library staff. While every state, Washington D.C., and a couple U.S. territories have a state library, these libraries are as different as the states themselves.

The purpose of a state library is primarily to collect and develop collections relevant to their state, while providing support to the residents and libraries within the state. What these services are, and the extent of these services, varies from state to state based on each state library’s mission, availability of funding, location and geographic area or size of the state.

The Tennessee State Library.

Some state libraries, like the Indiana State Library and Tennessee State Library & Archives, have buildings that are open to the public to visit and browse, and most seem to be located in the state’s capital, sometimes even adjacent to the capitol itself. Others, like the Montana State Library, are governmental offices, operating more like an archive or state agency, with little to no public-facing component. The Indiana State Library supports 236 independent, locally governed and funded public library systems across the state, while the Hawaii State Library operates all of the public library buildings across the islands as one large library system operated by the state.

The Great Hall of the Indiana State Library.

The governance of state libraries varies, too. Some are under their state’s Department of Education. Some are governed by their state’s Secretary of State. Some, including Indiana, are independent state agencies reporting directly to their governor. State library funding is usually dependent on the state’s budget, although all states receive federal funding via the Institute of Museum and Library Service’s Grants to States program. Some states receive additional funding through grants and foundations or gifts.

State libraries are commonly led by a State Librarian, or “chief.” They serve as the director or manager of their state system, as well as a trusted advisor for libraries of various types across the state. State librarians usually, but not always, have a library background with a Masters of Library Science and years of management experience. However, in some states, like Illinois, the Secretary of State appoints the State Librarian. There is a national network for these state librarians called COSLA, or the Chiefs of State Library Agencies, which provides support for these individuals as they lead their state’s library communities and navigate difficulties such as state budgets and intellectual freedom challenges.

A recent meeting of chief officers, as featured on the COSLA website.

COSLA regularly convenes these chiefs in national meetings, in person and virtually. In addition to the chiefs meeting, there are numerous ways for other state library staff to connect with staff of other state libraries. Continuing education specialists convene annually to talk about improving and developing new learning opportunities for library staff. Library development directors (like me!) meet informally weekly via Zoom to chat about news from and issues affecting their states’ libraries and occasionally meet in person at larger library conferences. Other services that state libraries have in common include administering interlibrary loan services, databases, operating their state’s federal depository and facilitating National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled services.

While they may differ in location and governance, one thing all state and territorial libraries share is a passion for library services, and tailoring those services to their own unique state.

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

‘Hands off!’ The diary of Margaret Elliott

A recent acquisition of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division has proved a charming read: “The Diary of Margaret Elliott” (V580), a sophomore at Purdue University in 1925. Born Nov. 29, 1905 in Logansport, she spent most of her life in Lucerne in Cass County, where she still lived when she died on Aug. 22, 1974 at IU Medical in Indianapolis.

Senior yearbook photo from the 1927 Debris, Indiana Serials, ISLI 378 P985d, 1927.

Elliott, who attended with her sister Lottie, was an exceptionally engaged student both academically and socially. In addition to pledging Alphi Chi Omega, she was a member of the Philalethian Literary Society, a women’s society founded in 1877; the Y.W.C.Q; and the Purdue Girl’s Club. She speaks about classes in English, French, Psychology, Physics, History and Education. She was of the first class to have an honor roll at Purdue known as the “distinguished students,” and her name is included among the ranks.

Throughout the diary, she only ever refers to her place of residence as “the house,” but it can be assumed to be the Alphi Chi Omega sorority house. The Purdue Ladies Hall, demolished in 1929, would have still been standing at the time of her tenure, but would surely not have been referred to as a “house.” The diary documents the many social events of Greek life in Purdue in this lively period, as well as the dress and behavior – including drinking by some of her male classmates – among the students.

Photo of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority house from the 1925 Debris, Indiana Serials, ISLI 378 P985d, 1925.

Her account of college life is still in many ways relatable: staying up until 3 a.m. with boys and cramming for tests. In April she writes: “Too much high, fast, hard living!” and in August: “Oh diary, am I wicked or so terribly different from other girls that I can’t like one man alone? It seems there always must be two before I am happy.”

Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, V580.

Indeed, the date juggling – sometimes more than one in the same night – with the passionate “Tex” and reliable “Nat” make this volume a page-turner. Though the senior portrait of Margaret does not evoke that of the “New Woman” flapper ethos, she certainly was a liberated college student by modern standards – coming and going as she pleased and seemingly enjoying the company of anyone she chose. It did not appear that her place of residence had rules about having men over, or at least they weren’t heavily enforced. Purdue admitted women as of 1875 and so her presence was not have been particularly novel; however, she did not exactly embody the traits of the “ideal ‘Purdue Man’” as outlined in the 1927 Debris, Purdue’s yearbook. However, she is a great reminder that Purdue has been important to Hoosier education for more than engineering – and for more than just male education.

Seen here in her sorority group photo, she has the more quintessential flapper bob. From the 1925 Debris, Indiana Serials, ISLI 378 P985d, 1925.

The diary is a record of a young woman who was not ready to commit to a life determined by her male suitors, each of which talked about taking her back home with them. She did avoid settling down for a period even after she graduated from Purdue, only finally marrying in 1935. This ended her career as a school teacher of English and History at schools in Tipton township, including the old Walton High School, which became Tipton Township High School. She resigned from Delphi-Deer Creek Township High School in Delphi – also long ago consolidated – a month after she married Earl D. York, born on Oct. 17, 1900, from North Grove. York worked for the Foreign Sales office for Texaco, and died on Dec. 11, 1990.

Though we have no evidence of whether quitting teaching was something she did wholeheartedly, it is hard not to assume that it was at least bittersweet for her. However, there is evidence that this educated dreamer lived a full life and did some traveling, with passenger manifest showing that she took trips to Panama and England and that, like many Hoosiers, she spent time in Florida.

Diaries can be hit and miss in terms of their research value and whether they provide any real insight into the time periods they document, depending heavily on the style of the writers who penned them. Not every diary can be saved, and many of them touch on only the most salient points of a day, often serving more as a daily calendar that doesn’t offer much even for piecing together family histories. The particular diary offers much in that it traces many ups and downs of both herself and fellow students. Her account of the 1925 automobile accident that killed two of her classmates, for instance, included a newspaper clipping slipped in between the pages as well as descriptive account of the accident and subsequent funeral.

Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, V580.

Diary page and unidentified clipping, Margaret Elliott diary, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division.

Her love of literature also colors the document, as she includes numerous quotes from writers such as Tennyson, Kipling and many more relatively forgotten writers who were popular at the time, as well as prominent writers on women’s issues including Sarah Grand and Margaret Widdemer. An afternoon could be spent happily just identifying the quotes in her books, but one Honoré de Balzac quote sticks out: “Marriage is a matter of one’s whole life; love is a matter of pleasure.” It seems Margaret had both, as well as a rich internal life – a life well lived!

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

How to be hep to the jive with Cab Calloway

Cabell “Cab” Calloway III was indisputably one of the most popular and iconic jazz performers of the 1930s. He possessed a distinct entertaining style which combined catchy swing music with cheeky vaudevillian skits. He sang, he danced, he sported exaggerated “zoot suits” and he helped popularize jive talk, a particular form of African American Vernacular English that is believed to have started in the jazz clubs of Harlem – where Calloway got his start – and was prevalent throughout the country in the 1930s and 1940s.

From The Indianapolis Recorder, Aug. 12, 1933.

Calloway was the unofficial Ambassador of Jive. In 1938, he self-published a small booklet entitled “Cab Calloway’s Cat-ologue: a “Hepster’s” Dictionary.” Several revisions followed, all published by Calloway himself. The Indiana State Library has the 1944 edition, which was titled “The New Cab Calloway’s Hepsters Dictionary.” In the dictionary’s foreword, Calloway proudly proclaims it to be “the official jive language reference book of the New York Public Library.” It is considered by some to be the first dictionary written and published by an African American.

Cover of the Indiana State Library’s Hepsters Dictionary ([p.f.] ISLM 427 no. 1). Unfortunately, some “square” (un-hep) librarian in the past was a little overly enthusiastic with the labelling and barcoding of this item!

Entries from the dictionary.

By the 1940s, jive was prevalent in American popular culture and was particularly popular among white teenagers and young adults. Expressions such as “blow the top” (to be overcome with emotion), “gimme some skin” (shake hands) and “salty” (angry, ill-tempered) became commonplace and are still used to this day.

An article describing a “jive” dance program held at Culver High School. From The Culver Citizen, Feb. 3, 1943.

Jive expressions became so mainstream that a youngster in 1940s Indiana could go to the L.S. Ayres department store and be “togged to the bricks” (dressed to kill) in a pair of blue jeans featuring jive talk.

L.S. Ayres advertisement from The Indianapolis Star, May 16, 1947.

The jive fad was not isolated only to large cities. Even folks in smaller places did not want to come across as “corny” (old fashioned, stale) or “icky” (one who is not hip, a stupid person, can’t collar the jive).

Music column from The Call Leader (Elwood, Ind.), Sept. 13, 1944.

Cab Calloway continued to keep “joints jumping” (club is leaping with fun) for delighted “jitter bugs” (swing fans) for decades after his heyday in the 1930s. He experienced a resurgence of interest in his career after making a cameo appearance in the 1980 film “Blues Brothers,” where he performed his most famous song, “Minnie the Moocher.” Calloway died in 1994 at age 86. He was truly one of the “hepest cats” in American history.

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.”