Indiana participates in the 2022 National Book Festival

The Library of Congress is once again presenting the National Book Festival, and Indiana is excited to be part of it. The 22nd iteration of the festival will take place in-person on Sept. 3 at the Washington Convention Center. A selection of programs will be livestreamed, and videos of those presentations can be viewed online after the festival concludes. The theme for this year’s festival is “Books Bring Us Together.”

Indiana is participating in the festival in a variety of ways. The Indiana Center for the Book will staff the Indiana booth in the Roadmap to Reading area of the festival, and two books by Indiana authors are being highlighted at the festival as part of the Great Reads from Great Places initiative. “Zorrie” by Larid Hunt is the selection for adult readers and “You Should See Me in a Crown” by Leah Johnson is the selection for youth readers.

The Indiana Center for the Book recently hosted an evening with Laird Hunt where Suzanne Walker, director of the center, spoke to the author of “Zorrie” about the novel and especially about the author’s Indiana roots. “Zorrie” is unique because it was chosen to represent two states at the festival. Laird Hunt is from Indiana, but currently lives in Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island Center for the Book partnered with Indiana on the event and has also chosen the book to represent their state at the festival.

Leah Johnson, author of “You Should See Me in a Crown” was interviewed back in 2021 by Sammy, the toucan puppet affiliated with the Indiana Center for the Book. They talked about books, reading, and of course, being from Indiana.

In addition to these two authors, Indiana author Karen Joy Fowler will also be at the festival in-person. Fowler’s book “Booth” is featured in a Toolkit put together by Indiana Humanities and Indiana Center for the Book. Use the toolkit participate in the festival. Explore the writings of one of the authors. Learn more about the Library of Congress, our national library. Listen to a podcast interview in a group and discuss it afterwards. Above all, enjoy connecting with Hoosier literary heritage. The Golden Age of Indiana literature isn’t in the past. It’s beginning all over again.

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

William Kimberley Palmer scrapbook

One of the recent items added to the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collection is the William Kimberley Palmer scrapbook (V149). The scrapbook contains autographs from many notable people from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including this June 7, 1895 letter sent to Palmer by Nikola Tesla:

Nikola Tesla signature.

Palmer was born on March 19, 1856 in Crawfordsville to William and Clara Palmer. In 1865, the family moved to Chicopee, Massachussetts and following his graduation from local high school in 1872, William moved to New York City and secured a clerical position with Charles Scribner’s Sons. He rose to the position of cashier before failing health required him to leave the firm and move to Kansas. He married Louise A. Lesuere on June 16, 1886 and they had four children. By the early 1890s, he had moved back to New York and resumed his work at Scribner’s. Besides his work with the publishing company, he was also an author and poet and was active in may civic and patriotic societies. He passed away at the age of 82 on Aug. 1, 1938.

John Philip Sousa signature.

Before his death, he donated the book to the Indiana State Library. This is somewhat odd considering he didn’t live in Indiana long. It’s possible no one else wanted it, but there is another scrapbook at the University of California Berkley, which is even more strange. He also donated books to Indiana University and the Library of Congress.

J. Wells Champney drawing.

When the scrapbook arrived in the lab it was assessed for condition. The scrapbook only exhibited minor condition issues such as small tears, loose attachments and residual soot that most likely came from the Indiana State Library’s old heating system. The repairs to the scrapbook were minor and conducted first by former intern Meghanne Phillips, and then completed by Queen’s University graduate conservation intern Rebecca Clendinen. All the pages were cleaned, all the tears were repaired and all the loose attachments were secured. A new custom storage box was also made.

Booker T. Washington signature.

Now digitized, the entire scrapbook can be viewed here in the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collections. Items in the volume include a caricature by Thomas Nast; a small sketch by J. Wells Champney; notes for a sermon written by Henry Ward Beecher; a sketch of Palmer by artist Francis Lathrop; a letter from Henry Morton Stanley, the explorer who found David Livingstone; letters from Booker T. Washington, Mary Murray Washington and Robert R. Moton on Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute letterheads; John Philip Sousa’s signature with musical notes for “The Stars and Stripes Forever;” and Samuel Francis Smith’s signature and handwritten copy of the first stanza of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” the song he wrote and originally titled “America” in 1832, that he sent to Palmer in 1895.

Henry Morton Stanley signature.

Other signatures include those of Katherine Lee Bates, George Washington Cable, Joseph Chamberlain, George M. Cohan, Calvin Coolidge, Frank Damrosch, Mary Mapes Dodge, Edward E. Hale, Benjamin Harrison, John M. Hay, Julia Ward Howe, John J. Ingalls, Tudor Jenks, Robert Underwood Johnson, Douglas MacArthur, William McKinley, Nelson A. Miles, D.L. Moody, J.P. Morgan, John Pershing, William C. Redfield, Whitelaw Reid, Jacob Riis, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles M. Schwab, John Sherman, Charles Dwight Sigsbee, Joshua Slocum, William H. Taft, James Tissot, Lew Wallace, Lilian Whiting, Kate Douglas Wiggin and many others.

Douglas MacArthur signature.

Those wishing to view the volume are encouraged to make an appointment with the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division via email or to call 317-232-3671.

This post was written by Victoria Duncan, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor; Laura Eliason, Rare Books and Manuscripts program coordinator; and Seth Irwin, conservator at the Indiana State Library. 

Rare Bible on display at the Indiana State Library

On Saturday, Aug. 13, from 1-3 p.m., the Indiana State Library will present “The Mystery of the Darlington Bible,” a free program that will focus on a 14th century medieval Bible held at the State Library.  

The lecture will investigate the origin of the book, including production techniques, as well as the manuscript’s movement from medieval Spain to Indiana. In particular, the manuscript’s rich decorative program and beautiful illuminations will be examined in the larger context of medieval Bibles. Those with an interest in book history, Bible history and the Middle Ages will be most welcome. The Bible will also be on display during and after the program. 

Presenters include David T. Gura, curator of ancient and medieval manuscripts at the Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame and concurrent associate professor at the university’s Medieval Institute; Seth Irwin, conservator at the Indiana State Library; and Marcia Caudell, supervisor of the Reference and Government Services division at the Indiana State Library. 

Click here to read more about the program and to register. Registration is not necessary to attend. 

The Indiana State Library is located at 315 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. 

This post was written by John Wekluk, communications director at the Indiana State Library.

Regimental reunions of Civil War veterans

After the close of the Civil War, Union veterans’ organizations were formed, such as the Grand Army of the Republic. Both the national and state levels of the GAR held regular meetings called encampments, and those were well-attended by members from local posts. At the same time, individual regiments began organizing less-formal reunions of their veterans. Often reunion organizers decided to meet in late summer when men might have free time in conjunction with their county fair or even during State Fair week activities at Indianapolis.

Fifth annual reunion of the 20th Indiana Vet. Vols., held at Crown Point, Indiana, Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 3rd and 4th, 1890. Indiana Pamphlet Collection [ISLO 973.74 no. 39].

Several of these local regimental reunions were well-documented with printed commemorative programs and proceedings. As with other types of reunions, a name list of attendees or surviving members was often published and may have been reported in a local newspaper. Some regiments would pay tribute to those who had died since their last reunion with a necrology list. Many Civil War veterans were becoming elderly in the time between the 1880 and 1900 U.S. Censuses, before there was full compliance with state death records laws. By placing a veteran along with his friends and neighbors at a particular reunion, these rosters can prove useful to researchers trying to bridge the gap.

Program of annual meeting. Roster. Seventy-ninth Indiana Veteran Association. 1889. Indiana Pamphlet Collection [ISLO 973.74 NO. 45].

Newspapers are always a great place to check for historical accounts of these “old soldiers” or “old veterans” reunions. A search of the Hoosier State Chronicles Digital Newspaper Collection points to reunions around the state. The details of the reunions may vary from names of organizers and officers to full lists of attendees.

Indianapolis Journal, Sept. 22, 1887. Hoosier State Chronicles Digital Newspaper Collection.

Keep trying searches with the regimental number spelled out in words (e.g., twenty-first, twenty-second, twenty-third, etc.) and also re-do the search as an ordinal number (e.g., 21st, 22nd, 23rd, etc.) which may give different, but equally useful results. For more information about items in the Indiana Collection or tips on finding regimental reunion documentation, please contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

This blog post was written by Indiana Division librarian and state documents coordinator Andrea Glenn.

North Manchester Public Library: ‘Fearless, innovative and community focused’

You can clearly see from the positive comments below how much the patrons of the North Manchester Public Library love and appreciate their library. Serving a population of a little over 6,000 in northern Wabash County, this library is doing amazing things for its community.

“Fantastic programming for all ages, staff that remember patrons’ names and interests, a wide range of books, movies, music and periodicals. The North Manchester Public Library is definitely at the heart of the community.”

“Amazing resource for this small community! The mobile hotspots you can check out make those long summer drives great for everyone’s high tech gadgets!”

“It is unusual for a town of our size to have a library of this caliber! The children’s department is second to none! Couldn’t be more proud!”

“I love that kids are allowed to be kids in their section of the library! Fun memories equal children who will love books forever. Keep up the awesome work!”

“One of the best small town libraries in the country.”

Director Diane Randall and her staff have accomplished many great things since she started her tenure in February 2020. Diane was fortunate to step into a library with a staff with many forward thinking ideas. I recently visited Diane to learn about all of the innovative and out of the box programs they are doing. It really takes a special synergy between the library board, director, library staff and community to make a good library an extraordinary library. I love what Diane said to me, “I am fearless, innovative and community focused.” And it shows!

Diane started at the North Manchester Public Library right before the world paused for the pandemic. As many traditional library services were disrupted, such as in person programs and public computer access, new needs in the community became evident. Food insecurity increased as paper and hygiene products became scarce. The library and community came together to fill these needs. Diane has been partnering with many local groups and has been working diligently to obtain grants that will further their vision to meet their community’s needs beyond traditional books.

In Diane’s own words:

“All the collaborations and projects my staff and I develop or create started with the development of the library’s current long range plan. It was very important to gather community and library trustees input as well as all library staff input. I felt it was crucial to include the library management staff of Adult Department manager and marketing coordinator, Jeanna Hann; Children’s Department manager, Sarah Morbitzer; Circulation librarian Cody Goble; and past programming coordinator Heidi Lovett in creating the plan. They not only gained experience in this planning process and understood it on a professional level, but also had creative buy-in and support for it. It was a wonderful team effort from which our full time staff and managers now have greater awareness and foundation as they build the library’s programs, outreach, collections and technology and as they utilize the buildings and grounds spaces. Future projects will include continued development of neurodiverse and sensory collections and spaces in the library; continued development of programming and events utilizing building grounds; and increased focus on collaborations and building of programming with the retirement and senior living communities post COVID pandemic.”

Their teamwork, planning and dedication to the community shines through in what they have accomplished so far.

Non-traditional library services began at NMPL a few years before Diane arrived. One of these services was a seed library, created by former staff member and programming director Heidi Lovett. With these new services, a seed was planted to go beyond the four walls of the library building with these innovative programs. The following list highlights these programs; be sure to click on the links to find out more about each program:

Seed Library – August 2017
Just as libraries have been sharing books for decades, sharing seeds is a natural extension of our culture. It’s a simple premise – take a seed pack, share a seed pack. The packets of seeds can be new or seeds harvested from plants. Novice gardeners get to experiment with new plants and can learn from expert gardeners. This is an all-around winning program for libraries – an efficient way to share seeds; a way to promote botanical literacy and a way to help fight food insecurity. No doubt many gardening books, magazines and videos have been checked out.

Makerspace-2-Go – August 2019
Makerspaces in libraries began around 2005 and grew out of the Maker Movement. Imagine arts and crafts groups, hobbyists, shop classes and science fairs combining in one place. They are spaces within some libraries with resources such as computers, 3D printers, audio and video editing tools and traditional arts and crafts supplies. Makerspaces give patrons the ability to try out technology and tools that they would not normally be able to access. Heidi Lovett, former programming coordinator, and Jeanna Hann, Adult Department manager and marketing coordinator, took it up a notch in 2019 with the ability to check out equipment and tools for home use!

Community Pantry – April 2021
A complementary program to the Seed Library is the Community Pantry. Interested members of the community approached Diane to collaborate to address food insecurity in the community. NMPL partnered with North Manchester Community Pantry to place a large plastic cabinet outside the library entrance. The pantry is stocked with non-perishable food items and paper supplies. The pantry is available 24/7 and community members can take what they need and to leave what they don’t. A local art student was chosen to paint a mural on the outside of the cabinet which lends visibility to the project and sets the tone for its goal. An excellent quote from the library blog sums it up perfectly, “The Community Pantry, a Mutual Aid Space, is where people take responsibility for caring for one another by sharing resources.”

Flat Playground – May 2021
“Social distancing” and “playgrounds closed” – NMPL Children’s Department manager Sarah Morbitzer turned these two phrases into a positive. This playground is like no other one you’ve ever seen. The library staff wanted to promote outdoor activity and intergenerational play with this unique play area. They also wanted to find ways to utilize their spacious library grounds. A blank sidewalk became the canvas for this masterpiece. There are six features on the playground – an eight piece activity track, four square, standing long jump, dart board, twister and snakes and ladders. These activities are great for all ages and mobility levels. This amazing space was made possible by the Bev Westendorf Memorial Fund, the JoAnn Martin Memorial Fund, Friends of the Library, the Tammy Seifert Memorial Fund, EduMarking USA and the NMPL Fun Run.

Pollinator Garden – May 2021
NMPL sits on a beautiful wooded two-acre lot. Members of the local Rotary Club reached out to Diane for a project to refresh the southeast corner of the library landscape through an initial Rotary Club grant. From this initial project, a wonderful collaboration has developed with the Master Gardeners of the North Manchester Rotary Club, the Purdue Extension of Wabash County and the library. A pollinator garden was planned and filled with native pollinator plants with the goal of long term sustainability. The new garden was revitalized entirely by the Rotary Club, volunteers and community members who donated plants and their time. Bonus – related educational programs have been provided by the Purdue Extension Services and also the Master Gardeners. And an extra special group has also sprouted from this – the Dirty Diggers Club run by Children’s Department manager, Sarah Morbitzer. Elementary and middle school-aged youngsters are learning how important pollinators are in relation to the foods that they eat. They are making that connection with their own eyes with their garden. The library is fortunate to be able to use the adjoining grounds of the historic Thomas R. Marshall Home – 28th vice president under Woodrow Wilson – for the Dirty Digger’s garden space through another community collaboration with the North Manchester Center For History.

Winter reading program expansion – January 2022
Through building new and renewed relationships with community businesses that are not part of the library’s summer reading sponsorships, Sarah Morbitzer and Molly Magus, programming coordinator, have developed an exciting growing winter reading program. Open to all, this program has its own unique sponsors and themes and is well supported by the community. It’s a great opportunity to continue to encourage and support reading within the community and is efficient to run via use of the Beanstack reading program software.

Sensory-2-Go shelf – March 2022
Developed by Sarah Morbitzer and Molly Magnus, this new collection is intended to reach patrons with neurodiverse needs. According to Merriam-Webster, neurodiverse is defined as “having, relating to, or constituting a type of brain functioning that is not neurotypical.” The five kits serve specific sensory purposes – high energy, calming, texture and touch as well as items to help with day to day activities (i.e., holding a cup) and other items for building cognitive development. This collection is for all ages, for use inside the library or for checkout to take home. This is a great way for patrons to try out the items first to see if they might make a personal investment.

Little Free Library – April 2022
A new beautiful turquoise blue Little Free Library is found just off North Market Street near the entrance of the Flat Playground. Lead by circulation librarian Cody Goble and Jeanna Hann, NMPL has joined the 150,000 Little Free Libraries around the world. Just like the seed library, people are meant to take a book and leave a book. This was made possible through a generous contribution from the Friends of the Library group.

Homeschool Resource Center – March 2022
Sarah Morbitzer and the Children’s Department have taken resource sharing a step further with their new Homeschool Resource Center. This collection can be used by anyone – for either long or short term homeschooling or for enrichment during school breaks. This collection contains homeschool books for teachers, a microscope, games for practicing sight words and much more!

There are even more projects that are in the works, so stay tuned to the North Manchester Public Library’s website, as well as their Instagram and Facebook pages to find out what’s next. Find out about this new project that is coming Fall 2022:

Electronic Message Center – Fall 2022
Diane is currently working on a collaborative project with their incredibly supportive Friends of the Library. The new digital message center will help promote programs and events, and relay library information to the community. The message center will enhance in-the-moment awareness of what is happening at the library, and will enable the library to reach community members who don’t utilize social media or read the local newspapers. The library will also be able to utilize the digital sign to promote their programs and events in Spanish to welcome and support awareness in our minority communities.

If you are in the North Manchester area, be sure to stop by the library and see all of the awesome things that are happening. Now, some final words from director of the North Manchester Public Library, Diana Randall:

“The staff at the North Manchester Public Library are so awesome! They are fantastically creative with such an innovative approach. They all have such a spirit of service to the community, and the community can feel it. I work daily to support this innovation and creativity, and I like to think outside the box to explore possibilities. I have always had a strong team-centered focus and customer service philosophy, and my staff know this. We work to keep up good communication and support each other. I also feel as a library director, I need to keep focus on the needs of my staff and supporting them. I work daily to let them all know this.

We all know that our libraries must continue to evolve as we move toward the future, and we have to keep a laser focus on what our communities’ needs are regarding services, programming and collections. Being open to new ideas and possibilities are crucial to our survival. I believe Indiana has a fantastic public library system with incredible library directors and library staff who are committed to serving their communities, and to supporting each other. I also am so grateful to the staff at the Indiana State Library for their input and support when I reach out to them with questions or for direction. They set a great foundation for all of us!”

This post was written by Northeast regional coordinator Paula Newcom of the Indiana State Library Professional Development Office and Diane Randall, director of the North Manchester Public Library.

Summer reading with the Talking Book and Braille Library

Summer reading is in full swing at the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. This year’s theme is “Oceans of Possibilities.” All patrons of TBBL between the ages of 4 and 18 are eligible. The program runs from May 31-Aug. 5. Books are available to borrow from the library in braille, large print and digital audio formats; participants can also download digital audio books and braille files from BARD or use the BARD mobile app available from the iTunes app store, the Google Play store or the Amazon App Store.

Any book borrowed from the library within the time frame will count toward a participant’s total. Note that only books borrowed or downloaded from the library will count towards a reader’s total. Every reader will receive prizes!

We are sending out packets each week throughout the program that include prizes, activity sheets and crafts.

To enroll – or if you have questions about the program – please contact Abby Chumin via email or by phone at 317-232-3684 or 1-800-622-4970.

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

The Indiana Library Passport is here!

The Indiana State Library is pleased to announce the launch of the Indiana Library Passport, a mobile passport that encourages everyone to visit libraries across the Hoosier state.

The passport is a free program, open to everyone. It showcases over 60 main libraries and branches to explore – including 31 historical Carnegie libraries – in an easy, mobile-friendly way.

In addition to 31 historical Carnegie libraries, the passport includes stops at the Allen County Public Library, which features the new Rolland Center for Lincoln Research; the South Whitley Community Public Library, which features the Shultz Gem Collection; the Bartholomew County Public Library, which features architectural design by I. M. Pei and the Large Arch statue by Henry Moore; and much more!

Patrons can visit a dedicated mobile passport landing page where they can sign-up for the Indiana Library Passport by providing their name, email address and mobile phone number. A link is then sent to their mobile phone, which opens the passport and directs the user to add the button icon to their home screen, where they can access it any time. There is never anything to download and no bulky apps take up space on a user’s phone.

When participants check in to libraries on the Indiana Library Passport trail, they will be entered into a quarterly drawing for a prize package, including, but not limited to, historical tour tickets, architecture books and gift cards from local and national merchants. Once users sign up for the passport, they only need to use their phone to check in while physically at each location. Participants are eligible to check in to each location on the passport once per week which will enter them into the prize drawing. Click here for detailed instructions on how to sign up and on how to use the passport. Click here to read the Indiana Library Passport FAQs.

The Indiana Library Passport is a collaboration between the Indiana State Library and Bandwango, a well-known technology company in the travel space. Bandwango technology is designed to support free and paid experiences created by destinations and marketed to visitors and locals. They are the technology company behind Visit Indiana’s State Nature Passport, among other passports in the state.

The 2022-23 Indiana Library Passport program is sponsored by the Indiana State Library Foundation.

The Indiana State Library Foundation plays an important role in promoting the dissemination of knowledge and information, the cultivation of historical research and individual ancestry, the preservation of valuable historical documents and the vehicle for the visually impaired to continue their ability to read and hear books. As a partner with the Indiana State Library, the Foundation enables the library to fulfill its mission and enhance its ability to serve the citizens of Indiana in the preservation of Indiana history. The vision of the Foundation is to enable the Indiana State Library to become the finest state library in the country. Click here to read more about the Indiana State Library Foundation and their mission.

Please contact John Wekluk, communications director at the Indiana State Library, with any questions.

This post was written by John Wekluk, communications director at the Indiana State Library.

‘An Evening with Laird Hunt,’ author of ‘Zorrie’

Join the Indiana Center for the Book and the Rhode Island Center for the Book for “An Evening with Laird Hunt,” author of the 2021 National Book Award finalist, “Zorrie.” This title is being featured by both Indiana and Rhode Island at the National Book Festival. “Zorrie” tells the story of one Hoosier woman’s life convulsed and transformed by events of the 20th century, specifically the Great Depression. Set in Clinton County, Indiana, Zorrie is orphaned twice, first by her parents and then her aunt. She ekes out a living, eventually finding work in a radium processing plant in Illinois. However, when Indiana calls her home, she returns and works to build a new life, yet again. Laird Hunt’s novel is a poignant study in rural Midwestern life and an exploration of the passage of time through individuals and communities. Join us to learn more about the author and this fascinating novel.

  • Date: Aug. 2, 2022
  • Time: 7:00 – 7:45 p.m. Eastern
  • Location: Zoom
  • Cost: Free of charge

Participants must register online. Registered participants will be sent a Zoom link upon registration. The event will be recorded and will be available on the Indiana State Library’s YouTube channel in the days following the event. This program is eligible for one LEU for Indiana library staff.

About Laird Hunt
Laird Hunt is the author of eight novels, including the 2021 National Book Award finalist “Zorrie.” He is the winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction, the Grand Prix de Littérature Américaine, the Bridge Prize and a finalist for both the Pen/Faulkner and the Prix Femina Étranger. His reviews and essays have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Beast, the Guardian, the Irish Times and the Los Angeles Times, and his fiction and translations have appeared in many literary journals in the United States and abroad. A former United Nations press officer who was largely raised in rural Indiana, he now lives in Providence, Rhode Island where he teaches in Brown University’s Literary Arts Program.

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

Why use the Indiana State Library? Researchers, teachers and students, we’re here for you!

Here at the State Library, we do a variety of things. Our library’s print and online resources cover a wealth of subjects and the assistance we provide gives patrons and data users a vast array of options for finding answers to their questions. Librarians and staff here are cross-trained in assisting with answering questions about genealogy, Indiana history, general reference, data about Indiana, specifics about library usage and research in federal and state government documents, among other topics.

Our library fits a few different categories.

  1. We are considered a research library, and many of our employees have belonged to the ACRL, the Association of College and Research Libraries. Although we are not an academic library – a library associated with a college or university – we do provide access to several in-depth special collections such as our Genealogy, Indiana, Rare Books and Manuscripts, cage and Holliday collections. The State Library is a research library in the broader sense of the term.
  2. We are considered a special library by the American Library Association definition because we are a library that operates within a state government. If you view the history of the library, you’ll see that we were originally created to serve our state legislature. The library’s mission has grown over the years. For a brief period beginning in the 1930s, the library was part of the Indiana Department of Education. We now serve under the executive branch of state government and we are open to the public.
  3. We are also a government information library. Several of our librarians consider themselves to be government information librarians. We handle requests about federal and state government documents and data on a regular basis. The government documents collections here include our Federal Depository Library Program collection, our Indiana state documents collection and our State Data Center collection.
  4. Our focus is on Indiana history. Many of the patrons we serve are looking for the history behind a certain person, group of people or Indiana location. Our history resources include original census records going back to the first census in 1790, county histories and maps of Indiana available from before statehood in 1816, rare family history volumes from residents of Indiana and surrounding states and the largest collection of Indiana newspapers in the world. Indiana history is one of our specialties here, so Indiana State Library staff are happy to help with history questions. Our building is also a living historical artifact. Built in 1934, it contains beautiful architectural details that you’ll need to visit to see. Contact us for a tour of the State Library!

*A friendly research tip, while you perform your research here, remember to collect information on the sources you view. This will ensure you do not repeat research you’ve already done and it helps while you’re creating citations for your reference lists and works cited pages.

In addition to our research collections, we also house the Indiana Young Readers Center and the Talking Book and Braille Library, both services of federal library programs through the Library of Congress – the Indiana Center for the Book and the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, respectively.

Last but not least, the Indiana Historical Bureau shares our building and is a part of our organization. The Bureau manages the state markers program and runs a highly educational research blog. Their website contains excellent resources for educators here.

The Indiana State Library and Historical Bureau can also direct you to additional resources at the Indiana Archives and Records Administration, a partner agency. Discover more about its holdings here.

This blog post was written 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.

Changes to Indiana gun laws

Effective July 1, 2022, gun owners in Indiana may go most places with their firearms, whether or not they have a license to carry and, yes, that means even at your local public library. HEA 1296, passed by the Indiana General Assembly in the 2022 legislative session, removes the requirement for firearm owners to have a license to carry a firearm in Indiana. How does this impact your local public library? Well, it doesn’t significantly, it just removes another restriction on gun owners in the state.

In 2011, the Indiana General Assembly created a law that prohibited political subdivisions from creating regulations related to firearms, including ammunition, storage and carrying. Public libraries are considered political subdivisions under Indiana law, so at that point, libraries lost the ability to keep firearms out of libraries. There are a few exceptions that would permit a library to regulate firearms in the library. For example, library boards can create and enforce a policy that prohibits or restricts the intentional display of a firearm at the library’s public meetings – meetings held by the library board or library board committees.

There is also an exception that allows employers to restrict employees who are on duty in the building from carrying a firearm. However, the employees must be allowed to keep their firearms in their locked vehicles stored in the glove compartment or trunk or otherwise out of plain view. Libraries cannot ask about firearm ownership on employment applications or make ownership or non-ownership a condition of employment.

Click here to read more about this new change in the law. To review the law as it pertains to government regulation of firearms, click here.

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