Prayer in public meetings

Can your local public library begin its public meetings with prayer? Would doing so put the library at risk of a lawsuit based on an alleged violation of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause?

Image courtesy of Pixabay

When government is involved in a religious challenge, the court may put the challenge through a three-part test known as the Lemon test. Lemon v. Kurtzman was a court case in which the U.S. Supreme Court created a test to analyze if government was engaged in impermissible entanglement in religion in violation of the establishment clause in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Government typically can be involved in activity involving religion under the following circumstances:

  • The primary purpose of the action is secular,
  • The action neither promotes nor inhibits religion, and
  • There is no excessive entanglement between church and state.

It would seem that government sponsored prayer before meetings would not pass the Lemon test and would thus violate the establishment clause. However, when it comes to prayer before government meetings, the Court appears to be more lenient. Per the Court opinions, this seems to be primarily due to the longstanding history – dating back to the drafters of the constitution – of leading legislative sessions with prayer.

A very divided U.S. Supreme Court, via 5/4 decision, found local government meeting prayer permissible in the following situation:

  • A town board invited religious leaders in the community the town served to have a turn saying the opening prayer.
  • All the religious leaders were volunteers, none were paid.
  • Even though most of the prayer leaders were Christian, it was okay because the community had predominantly Christian churches. The Court held that the town did not have to go outside of its boundaries to get prayer leaders from other religions.
  • Anyone was allowed to volunteer to do the prayer, including laypeople and atheists. The board allowed a Jewish layman and a Wiccan priestess who had read press reports about the controversy to have a turn at leading the opening prayer.
  • The town board did not interfere with contents of the prayers and let the prayer giver say his/her own prayer according to his/her own belief system. Prayers were not reviewed or vetted in advance.
  • While a number of the prayers did invoke the name of Jesus, the Heavenly Father or the Holy Spirit, they also invoked universal themes as by celebrating the changing seasons or calling for a spirit of cooperation among town leaders. They had both a civic and religious theme.
  • Over time, the prayers did not denigrate any religions nor proselytize/promote one religion over another.
  • Meeting attendees were not compelled to engage in religious observance of the prayer. Prayer was for the board members not the attendees.

With the ruling being so split on such a fact specific situation, it is very possible that a finding of an establishment clause violation could occur if any of the above facts were different. A couple federal courts in other circuits – not Indiana’s, which is the 7th circuit – found that prayer incorporated into government meetings was a violation of the establishment clause in slightly different scenarios.

  • A 6th circuit case found it unconstitutional when the county commissioners began their meetings with prayer when the prayer was always led by one of the commissioners so they could control the message and all the commissioners were Christians. This gave the impression of government sponsored endorsement of the Christian religion. Additionally, they called for the audience to stand and bow their heads/assume a reverent position which made at least one of the attendees uncomfortable, as if he was being coerced to participate in something he didn’t believe in. The court found that the prayer time was unconstitutionally coercive because a single resident was singled out for opprobrium when he objected and there was evidence suggesting that board allocated benefits and burdens based on participation in prayer.
  • A 4th circuit court found it unconstitutional when commissioners said the prayer because prayer by board members was government speech, not individual speech. The prayers did not fit within the legislative prayer exception because the practice discriminated against and disfavored religious minorities since all faiths but those of the five elected commissioners were excluded. The prayers constituted unconstitutional coercion because the board maintained complete control over the content of the prayers and the religious views excluded all but those represented by the five commissioners. The court also stated that indirect coercion may violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment when government orchestrates the performance of a formal religious exercise in a way that practically obliges the involvement of non-participants. The commissioners were also said to have made public comments indicating frustration and disapproval of minority religious views.

Based on the above cases, one might conclude that under very narrow and particular conditions, it might be ok to have community religious leaders lead a library board meeting in prayer but not an actual board member personally. However, libraries should consult with their own legal counsel before engaging in such a practice to ensure the way they are instituting the practice is constitutional. One option to consider is the board could hold a moment of silence before each meeting that people could use to say their own prayer to themselves if they so desire.

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

Discovering census history at the Indiana State Library

The 2020 census data for congressional apportionment – released every 10 years – is due to be released one month from now, on April 30. The Census Bureau will deliver official 2020 census counts to the president on this date so these numbers can be used to determine the number of representatives each state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives. For the method used in determining these figures, see the Census Bureau’s Computing Apportionment. This year, the delivery date was extended due to COVID-19. You can find details about changes to the timeline on the Census Bureau’s website. Typically, congressional apportionment numbers are due to the president on Dec. 31, following the decennial census, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. A history of this process is available on the Proportional Representation webpage from the U.S. House of Representatives.

The 2020 Census is not the first census to be disrupted by national concerns. The Earth spins and the nation moves forward through time as the American people are counted every 10 years. Let’s take a trip back in time to the fourth U.S. census, in 1820, when census enumeration was planned to take place during the six-month period from August 1820 to February 1821. Back then, the nation was going through its first major economic depression following the Panic of 1819.

What was the Panic of 1819, you ask? Good question! Last week was the first time I’d heard of it, and it’s not until recently that current scholarship has caught up with history. I decided to start my research using our free online newspaper databases and by searching for journal articles using INSPIRE, the Indiana State Library’s free database resource.

Here is what I discovered:

Late last year, Scott Reynolds Nelson wrote in his Journal of the Early Republic article, “The Many Panics of 1819,” that the causes were several:

Fundamentally, a trade war between the United States and Great Britain triggered the crisis, and that trade war over the Caribbean produced many panics – in the New England shipbuilding industry, in the southern provisioning trade, in the plantations of the British Caribbean where enslavers increasingly faced a hungry workforce.

…Though the land office failures were important. The Land Office was effectively a mortgage bank, the biggest in the world. On the significance of the land office in the American South, see Daniel S. Dupre, Transforming the Cotton Frontier: Madison County, Alabama, 1800–1840 (Baton Rouge, LA, 1997). Farmers borrowed on a four-year mortgage from the land office, a competitor to the Bank of the United States created by Jefferson’s Democratic Party. The rapid drop in provision prices led farmers to fail and abandon their mortgages and lands.

Additionally, Jessica M. Lepler explained the nationwide effect last year in her article, “The Panic of 1819 by Any Other Name:”

…North and South, East and West, urban and rural, young and old, male and female, bound and free, the hard times were national. This was no single-year crisis; the Panic of 1819 lasted about a decade.

These two authors were part of a 2019 panel discussing the subject.

Historical evidence can be collected here at the State Library through primary and secondary sources. Newspaper articles, history books and other ephemera explain how the 1820 census was affected by the economic state of the nation at the time. The 1820 census itself was extended by an extra seven months, until September of 1821. At the time, the United States would have been in recovery from fallout due to its first major economic crisis.

James Monroe was president on Census Day, Aug. 7, 1820. Courtesy of the United States Census Bureau.

Two centuries apart, the 1820 Census and the 2020 Census, and in both cases the process of the census was affected by major events impacting U.S. society.

As the pandemic draws closer to a solution and more people become vaccinated, we’ll see more books and articles written that compare our recent experiences to past events. The State Library has many resources that can help us delve into census history, both published and unpublished.

Visit our library to do research in the State Data Center Collection by calling us at 317-232-3732 to make an appointment. You can also use online resources like INSPIRE and the Census Bureau’s elaborate history website. Call or email the State Data Center for assistance. We are here to help you discover census history!

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.

Once upon a time: Tips for writers from a librarian

Libraries are magnets for writers and would-be authors. One of the questions libraries often hear from writers is, “How can I get my book into your library?” The answer can vary from library to library based on the library’s collection development policy and the type of book in question. For example, a law library is probably not going to be interested in a science fiction novel. A public library will probably not be interested in an extensive multi-volume textbook about string theory. However, public libraries oftentimes are interested in collecting well-written books by their own local authors. A big plus is if the book has been reviewed in a reputable book review publication like Publisher’s Weekly or Library Journal. There are lots of other things that authors can to do make their work more attractive to a librarian.

First off, authors can do the work to make their book the best book they can possibly write. There are many organizations that hold online writing classes that help writers hone their skills, learn about the publishing industry and get connected with other writers. Midwest Writers Workshop has virtual conferences for writers and the Indiana Writers Center has over a dozen classes offered at any given time covering topics from plays to poetry.

Authors can learn tips and tricks from other writers by joining a writing community. There are organizations for writers in almost every genre imaginable from Romance Writers of America to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Benefits to joining one of these groups are manifold. Writers can find critique groups, learn about upcoming opportunities or be listed in a speaker’s bureau. One of the best things that a burgeoning writer can do is to get hooked into a network of other writers.

Library programs are another outlet that might be available to new writers. Some libraries have local author fairs where many authors can showcase their work at one time. The Indiana Historical Society has done this in the past as well as the Indianapolis Public Library’s Meet an Author / Be an Author event. Author events that showcase just one local author are a bit more rare and harder for a library to justify, due to the fact that one lesser-known author is not as likely to bring in a crowd versus a group of authors. Nowadays, a virtual author event might also be possible.

When in doubt, read a book. “Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book” by Courtney Maum can serve as a how-to guide for authors just starting out. In down-to-earth chapters, Maum offers all kinds of advice about writing and the publishing industry.

The Indiana State Library is one library that actively collects fiction and poetry by Indiana authors who write for all audiences. For more information on donating your work to our collections, reach out to Suzanne Walker, the coordinator for the Indiana Center for the book.

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

Upcoming Get INSPIRED! sessions

This year, the Indiana State Library is hoping to help library employees across the state to Get INSPIRED! The Professional Development Office has added a second series to our webinar offerings, What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED! This series is on the second Wednesday of every month and will be a focused look at some aspect of the INSPIRE suite of tools. The remaining 2021 webinars in this series are below:

April 14 – “Ebooks”
Learn how to use the different features available in the new and expanded EBSCO Ebook collections in INSPIRE.

May 12 – “Live Q&A”
This will be an informal question and answer session about all things INSPIRE. If you have specific questions, please add them to this form and they will be answered during this session.

June 9 – “Business Databases”
Learn how to use the various business databases available in INSPIRE to access valuable business information.

July 14 – “INSPIRE for Career Prep”

Aug. 11 – “Live Q&A”

Sept. 8 – “Top INSPIRE Databases for Assisting Students”

Oct. 13 – “Digital Collections with Justin Clark”

Nov. 10 – “Live Q&A”

These webinars are all worth one TLEU each for Indiana library staff. Keep an eye on the PDO calendar of events and the INLibraries Listserv for more details. January’s “Introduction to INSPIRE” webinar can be found on the archived webinars page. March’s webinar “INSPIRE Search Strategies” will be archived soon, so be sure to check the archived page for this great opportunity.

This post was written by George Bergstrom, Southwest regional coordinator, Professional Development Office, Indiana State Library.

Celebrating Women’s History Month

National Women’s History Month traces its roots to March 8, 1857, when women from various New York City factories staged a protest over poor working conditions. The first Women’s Day celebration in the United States was in 1909, also in New York City. In 1981 Congress established National Women’s History Week to be commemorated annually the second week of March. Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed resolutions requesting and authorizing the president to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating March as Women’s History Month. Many federal agencies celebrate and recognize the importance of Women’s History month.

As Women’s History Month is celebrated in 2021, many will reflect upon advances women have made over the last decade. Women have increased their earnings, education and fields of occupation and have continued to live longer than men. View stats from Census Bureau surveys highlighting how women’s employment has changed over the years here.

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Services, Smithsonian Institution and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

The Agriculture Department has a Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network where women can connect, share stories and share experiences with fellow women in agriculture. The goal is to promote the image, role and leadership of women, not only on the farm, but in youth organizations; at cutting edge research facilities at universities across the country; and in the boardrooms of global corporations.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva had a conservation which they called “The Age of Womenomics.” They discussed gender inclusion, especially in economics and finance, their respective career journeys, challenges and role models and the impact of this current COVID-19 economic crisis on women.

The U.S. Secretary of State recognizes women from around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice with the Women of Courage Award. Learn more about the 2021 honorees here.

This blog post was written by Marcia Caudell, supervisor of the Reference and Government Services Division at the Indiana State Library.

Federal CARES grants help Indiana libraries safely reopen

Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States in early 2020, libraries began to close as a precaution for their communities and staff. The federal government rushed into action to aid industries affected by the virus and subsequent closures. On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act, which designated $50,000,000 for libraries and museums through the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

IMLS distributed these CARES Act funds to state libraries based on the population served and to other library and museum grant applicants based on need. In Indiana, a portion of the funds received were used at the State Library to ensure book delivery and other statewide services could continue. However, a majority of the funds were made available as grants to public and academic libraries to reimburse COVID-related expenses.

Allowable reimbursements through Indiana’s CARES Act grants for libraries included:

Personal protective equipment and facilities supplies and services, including:

  • Masks, facial shields, gloves, sanitizer and wipes.
  • Plexiglass shields.
  • Washable keyboards and mice.
  • Webcams.
  • Curbside service stanchions and signage.
  • And all other items related to preventing and protecting staff and patrons against COVID-19.

Hotspots and digital inclusion supplies and services, including:

  • Mobile devices.
  • Signal boosters and antennae.
  • Wireless routers and corresponding subscriptions for the duration of the grant.
  • Remote learning and videoconferencing platforms for the duration of the grant.

E-content, including:

  • E-books, digital movies and music.
  • Databases.

There was a great demand for these grants and to date the Indiana State Library has awarded two rounds of 336 CARES Act grants to Indiana libraries. Over $200,000 has already been reimbursed to Indiana communities through the program.

These grants will help libraries recover from the unexpected costs of new hygiene and distancing needs, while enabling library staff to try new service models including curbside pickup, delivery and virtual programming. Additionally, libraries were able to expand their e-book offerings to better serve patrons enjoying library services from home.

Many libraries have since reopened their doors to the public and will continue to reintroduce in-person services as the virus wanes. However, many of the items purchased through these grants will continue to benefit libraries by helping them to operate safely and expand their new virtual and curbside services.

Questions about CARES Act grants for Indiana Libraries may be directed to LSTA grant consultant Angela Fox.

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

Explore Brown County

Brown County can be found in the center of the southern half of Indiana. It is known for its arts and crafts, food and wine and beautiful hilly vistas. The area was formed from two treaties regarding land ceded by Native Americans – the Treaty of Fort Wayne and the Treaty of St. Mary’s. Many of the early white settlers were from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas and already had familiarity living in mountainous or hilly country. Until the railroad and cars arrived in the area in the early 20th century, the whole of Brown County was very rural. People farmed and harvested lumber from forests to survive. As transportation opened more options for the county, the beginnings of the art community began to form as well.

T. C. Steele and Selma Neubacher Steele built their home, House of the Singing Winds, in 1907. It is now a state historic site. Adolph and Ada Schulz relocated to Nashville, Indiana from Chicago around 1917 and founded the Brown County Art Association. Two organizations, the Brown County Art Gallery and Museum and the Brown County Art Guild still work today to build the legacy of fine art in the community.

Brown County Art Gallery, 1926.

Interior of T. C. Steele’s home and studio.

In 1931, the Brown County State Park opened, inviting visitors to explore the Yellowwood State Forest, Hoosier National Forest and Lake Monroe amongst many other natural and recreational activities. This cemented the area as a tourist destination and that reputation continues to grow to this day.

Picnickers in Brown County State Park.

Explore more of Brown County in our Digital Collections.

This blog post was written by Lauren Patton, Rare Books and Manuscripts librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

The polio vaccine in Indiana

As hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers begin to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is worth remembering that many of them have gone through a rapid mass vaccination program before. When many of today’s senior citizens were children, poliomyelitis – more commonly known as polio – emerged as one of the most dreaded childhood diseases on the planet. While most who contracted the virus survived it, polio could have serious and long-term effects on the central nervous system and could also lead to muscle paralysis.

Much like COVID-19, treatment for polio patients focused on respiratory assistance. Instead of being intubated with modern respirators, children with polio often found themselves in a long, formidable cylindrical tube known as an iron lung which would assist with their breathing.

Image and instructions on operating an iron lung from “Recommendations on nursing procedures and techniques in hospitals treating poliomyelitis cases of the Indiana Polio Planning Committee” (Indiana Collection, ISLO 610.73 no. 32).

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, outbreaks of polio across the United States caused widespread panic. Schools were temporarily shuttered, public swimming pools closed and other activities for children were cancelled as parents desperately tried to prevent their children from contracting the disease. The country was desperate for a vaccine.

Headline from the Indianapolis Star, Sept. 15, 1952.

Herald (Jasper County), Sept. 18, 1952. From newspaperarchive.com.

Jonas Salk first developed his polio vaccine in 1952. Mass testing began in 1954 and on April 12, 1955, the vaccine was declared successful and ready to be distributed to the general public, a medical feat which made the front page of many Indiana newspapers.

The Kokomo Tribune, April 12, 1955. From newspaperarchive.com.

Then as now, public health officials had to decide how to prioritize vaccine distribution. Children under 10 years of age, particularly those in grades 1-4, were considered most vulnerable to contracting the disease and were therefore scheduled to receive the vaccine first. And like the current iterations of the COVID-19 vaccine, multiple shots were needed to achieve full immunity.

Advertisement from the Rushville Republican, Jan. 20, 1956. From newspapers.com.

Once the vaccine was deemed effective, manufacturing went into overdrive. Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly was one of a handful of U.S. pharmaceutical companies to produce the vaccine. In 1955, Lilly produced over half of the vials used in the United States during the initial vaccination push.

Article describing vaccine manufacturing at Eli Lilly (Indiana Collection ISLO 614.473 no. 4).

Beginning soon after the public proclamation of the vaccine’s effectiveness in 1955, Hoosier school children quickly lined up at county hospitals, health clinics, or – in many cases – their school gymnasiums to receive their first shot.

The Brook Reporter, April 28, 1955. From newspapers.com.

Thanks to the vaccine and the mass mobilization of public health officials, healthcare workers, pharmaceutical companies, parents and children, polio was dramatically reduced in the United States by 1961 and is no longer considered the threatening childhood disease it once was.

Many of the children who lined up in their school gymnasiums in the 1950s are now in their seventies and are considered most vulnerable to the debilitating effects of COVID-19. They once again find themselves near the head of the line for a brand-new vaccine created to stop a dire public health pandemic. Instead of standing in literal lines at their local school, they must now navigate a virtual line to sign up for an appointment at a local health facility. As of this writing, nearly a million Hoosiers have received the vaccine.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccination program in Indiana, click here.

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.”

Treatment of 3 rare 19th century maps at the Indiana State Library

1855 Map of Jeffersonville, Clark Co. Indiana
Jeffersonville, being positioned along the Ohio River and just north of Louisville, came out of the pioneer era as a metropolis by Indiana standards. This map shows the Jeffersonville and Indiana railroad, as well as the Clark County Plank Road. Jeffersonville was a gateway to southern markets; and later the movement of troops and supplies during the Civil War. Notice all the commerce along the riverfront: sawmills, meat packing and shipyards. Hart and Mapother Lithographers out of Louisville, have a rich body of work surviving in maps, but also print ads, pamphlet cover illustrations and letterhead. The detail on this map is really engaging.

This map came to the lab in extremely poor condition. Like most large 19th century maps, it had been adhered to a large sheet of fabric, which was very dirty. The map was also very deteriorated with lots of missing pieces. It was extremely fragile. Even handling it would cause pieces to fall off. The front of the map was also varnished, which had caused the entire map to darken and discolor. At some point, book cloth was glued to all four edges of the front. Finally, to the entire map had been “silked.” A large sheet of silk had been glued to the entire front of the map making the map appear cloudy and discolored.

The goal for treating this map was to get it to a state where it was stable and could be handled and eventually digitized. The varnish and silk were first removed, along with all the book cloth. The map was then washed, and all the fabric was then removed. The map was then lined onto a sheet of Japanese tissue.

Before treatment image of the front of the map.

Before treatment image of the back of the map.

Removal of silk from the front of the map.

After treatment image of the front of the map.

After treatment image of the back of the map.

1872 Map of Logansport, Indiana
Logansport is another Indiana city with a strong railroad tie. This 1872 map of Logansport shows many rail lines crossing through the city. This map also shows many of Indiana’s internal improvements of the era, Wabash and Erie Canal, and the unlabeled Michigan Road (Burlington Road). Another great data set on this map is the list of “Leading Business Houses of Logansport.” Something of a boomtown, Logansport’s population tripled between 1860 and 1870, going from 3,000 to almost 9,000 people. The map and the text make a wonderful snapshot of what appears to be a bustling town in 1872. Compiled from records of Julius C. Kloenne, city engineer, the subdivisions and out lots are represented in detail, showing names of additions and large landholders edging the town. Kloenne would make his own map of the city in 1876. As neat as the map is, little to be found about the publisher Barnard, Hayward and Company. In contrast, the engravers H.J. Toudy and Company, out of Philadelphia, made a fine business specializing in maps, atlases and birds-eye views until a fire in 1878 destroyed their business.

When this map was first assessed it showed a lot of problems. It was in extremely poor condition suffering from years of heavy use and prior attempted repairs. The entire map had been cut into smaller sections, in what my assume was an attempt to make the map more easily stored. Like the Jefferson map, this map was also adhered to its original fabric and varnished. Significant amounts of clear packing tape was also applied to large areas of the front, and paper had been glued to all four edges.

As with the Jefferson map, the goal for the Logansport map was to repair it for stability, safe handling and digitizing. This would mean removing all the varnish, all the tape and glued on paper, washing the map to remove discoloration, putting the sections back in their correct placement and re-lining the map onto a new sheet of Japanese tissue.

Before treatment of the front of the map.

Before treatment of the back of the map.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan removing tape from the front of the map on a tacking iron.

All of the tape removed.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan removing varnish from the map sections on a suction table.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan washing and cleaning sections of the map.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan removing the backing fabric.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan pasting out Japanese tissue for relining.

Treated section next to the untreated sections.

After treatment images of the front of the map.

After treatment images of the front of the map.

After treatment images of the front of the map.

After treatment images of the front of the map.

1876 Ohio County Centennial Map
Small in size, but rich in details, this map of Ohio County, Ind. was published to celebrate America’s centennial in 1876. The Ohio County Historical Society notes there were perhaps only 250 made. Surviving copies are quite rare. Ohio County was established just 30 years before this map was made. Notable are references to Native American sites at the time in Ohio County. George W. Morse, the mapmaker, is noted in the Ohio County history books as being present at the archeological digs in the area. He also delivered a historical address at the major Centennial Celebration held in Rising Sun the summer of 1876. The Centennial Independence Day was observed with cannons, bells and a parade. And this map!

This map was in an extremely fragile state. It had suffered lots of losses due to years of use. Like the other two maps it had also been varnished. The map had also suffered extensive water damage at some point resulting in staining throughout the entire sheet. Like the Jefferson map and Logansport map it was also adhered to its original fabric which had become very dirty and frayed.

As with the Jefferson and Logansport maps, the goal for this map was to repair it for stability, safe handling and digitizing. All of the varnish was removed, the map was washed and then re-lined onto a new sheet of Japanese tissue.

Before treatment of front of the map.

Before treatment of back of the map.

The map being washed.

After treatment of the front of the map.

After treatment of the back of the map.

This blog post was written by Conservator Seth Irwin and Monique Howell, Indiana Collection supervisor, both of the Indiana State Library.

Genealogy research in print materials

Genealogy research is so much easier than it’s ever been, thanks to the many subscription services and free databases available to researchers in their homes at any time of day or night. These databases, however, contain only a small fraction of the genealogical information available to family historians. If you have exhausted the online resources available on your family, or if you are looking for new and interesting sources for research, it may be worthwhile to look at print materials.

This series of books documents the descendants of the Mayflower passengers.

Genealogy libraries have a wide variety of print materials, and not just books. Our collections also include vertical files, maps, family trees, Bible records, manuscript collections, photograph and more. All of these materials contain family histories, indexes to records, research notes and all sorts of information on individuals and families.

If you visit a genealogy library, there are so many books and materials available that it’s easy to lose track of what you’re looking for as you browse through so many interesting-looking books. So it’s helpful to have a research plan, even before you visit a library.

As part of your research plan, you can identify which ancestors you want to research, and in what time period and geographic area they lived. That way, you can more easily identify which books and reference materials will help with your research and which ones will not. You may also want to consider books about families that are connected to yours.

Researchers of connected families may have written about your family in their books.

You can also search a library’s catalog online before you visit to see if they have books on a specific family or topic. If you are interested in a broader search for potential research materials, WorldCat is a great place to start.

WorldCat main page.

WorldCat is a shared library catalog that includes libraries from around the world. You can search by title, author or any subject or surname that interests you. Not every library participates in WorldCat, but many libraries are included. This can help you find if anyone has ever written a book on your family, and if so, which libraries own it.

When you visit a library and begin to research in the books that interest you, also take a peek at the books shelved around the books you want. While searching the catalog definitely helps you find the books you want, you may also find something on the shelves that you didn’t know you needed until you see it. You may also find books with alternate spellings of your family name that you did not consider while searching the catalog.

Names often changed spelling over time, so considering alternate spellings may lead to resources you otherwise might have missed.

To make organizing your library research easier when you get back home, as you take notes on the materials or make copies from the books, copy the information from the title page so you know what book you got the information from. And if you check a book and do not find anything relevant to your research, note that as well.

So, if you are interested in expanding the scope of your genealogy research, consider branching out into print materials. There is so much more that you can discover about your family tree!

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