Genealogy for kids

Are you looking for a fun, meaningful and ongoing activity you can do with your children? Here’s an idea the whole family will enjoy and it just might turn into a lifelong adventure! Why not get the family involved in some genealogy research by connecting your children to their grandparents, great grandparents and other ancestors down the line?

First of all, it is best to define genealogy in easy to understand terms. It’s the story of the family members that came before them. Explain that these people are their ancestors. Genealogy entails tracing back your family lines and studying your family history and family relationships. It is the story of where they lived, who they married and how many children they had. Genealogy can begin with a search for the vital records of ancestors. These records include the dates and places of birth, marriage and death. Ask children why these might be called vital records and why they are considered so important.

Ask your children, “If you want to discover your own genealogy and family history, who do you think you should start with?” Should you start with grandparents? Parents? Of course, they should begin with themselves because they know the most about themselves. It is also logical to start with themselves to be able to see how they connect to other family members down the line. A packet, “My Journal: All About Me,” can be accessed here. Finding out facts and other information about you and your family involves research and a good researcher should gather the appropriate supplies to help them be successful. They will need a notebook or paper and pencil to write down the information they find. A folder will come in handy to hold the notebook and any papers. Some optional items might include a computer, a camera or a video or audio recording device. The linked packet also contains helpful definitions related to genealogy and helpful websites and books. A list of starter questions to ask family members is included in the above mentioned packet. Children should also be encouraged to come up with some of their own questions to ask about the things they would like to know regarding their family members.

Kids will have fun answering questions about themselves and recording the information. Once they have answered the basic questions about birth date and where they were born, they can then delve a little deeper with answering questions like, “My name was chosen for me because…” or “I was named after…”

Their next steps will involve asking questions about parents. It’s important for children to know that it’s okay if they are not able to find out information about a parent or grandparent. It’s good to emphasize that everyone has one or more “holes” in their family genealogy that can’t be filled in at the moment. Some searches for family members can be ongoing for many years. Encourage children to just continue on with the family members they do have information about.

Now it is time to move on to gathering information about grandparents. Sometimes a visual chart can help children understand the connections between themselves and their parents and grandparents. Explain that maternal grandparents are the parents of the mother. This is easy to remember with the “ma” at the beginning of the word maternal, as in your “ma.” The paternal grandparents are the parents of the father. This is easy to remember with the “pa” at the beginning of the word paternal, as in your “pa.”

A very basic beginning family tree example.

By learning about grandparents and understanding what their lives were like, children learn and understand more about themselves and their immediate family. Hopefully, children will discover that they share some of the same traits, characteristics and talents that a grandparent might have. Helping children see similarities and connections will make it fun and relevant for everyone.

An interesting project that children will enjoy is gathering pictures of family members at approximately the same age and making comparisons between the family members.

A baby picture comparison of a grandfather, two of his children and three of his grandchildren.

As mentioned before, the linked packet has a list of suggested questions to ask. Questions such as “What kinds of games did you play?,” “What part of childhood do you think most about now?,” “How is the world different today than it was when you were growing up?” and “What is the most important thing that has happened to you?”

At this point, much information has been gathered. The concept of a family tree or pedigree chart can now be introduced. Some people show their family history using a family tree or a pedigree chart, which are diagrams of the members of a family. With each of these, lines are used to show how people are related. For example, the lines show people who are married or have children. There is an unlimited variety of family tree and pedigree chart templates that can be downloaded for free from the internet.

Example of a family tree.

Example of a pedigree chart.

For older children, you can now add in a discussion and some research about the immigration of ancestors. With the subject of immigration currently in the news daily, there could be some great discussions about immigration in the past and present. Ask about the connections between immigration and genealogy. Probe a bit and ask what they think are some of the causes for people immigrating in the past and now. Perhaps life may have become too difficult in their native country. It could be because of lack of means for earning an income and needing to live in a place where there would be better work opportunities available. Immigrants come because of violence, war or religious persecution in their native country. They may come looking for a better life and future for themselves and their children. They may come to join other family members that came before them.

For many of us, all of our long ago ancestors were immigrants to North America at some point in time, with the exception of those who are full-blooded Native Americans. The immigration story of each of our ancestors is part of each person’s family history. It can be powerful for children to learn about their ancestors’ struggles and stories of survival.

It’s important to ask children questions before, during and after their research. It will help deepen their critical thinking skills. Bloom’s taxonomy of learning progresses from remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating. Helping children engage in higher level thinking skills will help them develop into stronger learners and critical thinkers.

Here are just a few example questions that could be asked:

  • How can I connect this information to my own life? How are my ancestors similar; dissimilar?
  • What would you do if you lived in another country in 1800 and could not find a job to support and take care of your family? Explain your answer.
  • Why do you think your ancestors settled in a particular region or city? Explain.

I hope these tips will help you engage your children and family by facilitating a personal connection to learning about your family’s past. I also encourage you and your family to check out the genealogy titles for kids featured throughout this blog post. You can find the titles and authors by clicking on the pictures.

This blog post was written by Alice Winslow, librarian, Genealogy Division. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library Genealogy Division at (317) 232-3689.

The Colonization movement

The Indiana Colonization Society, formed 1829 and based in Indianapolis, advocated for the relocation of free people of color and emancipated slaves in Indiana to settlements in Liberia, Africa. The ICS was an auxiliary of the American Colonization Society, located in Washington, D.C., which formed in 1817.

Premised on the idea that an integrated society was impractical and impossible, “colonizationists,” who were overwhelmingly white, argued that black people could find liberty only in Africa. A small portion of free people of color who agreed that justice, liberty and prosperity could not be achieved in America emigrated. Critics, such as free black people and abolitionists, voiced strong opposition to this movement. They asserted that the agenda of the society was counterproductive for racial reconciliation and integration, that it was overall an ineffective scheme to combat slavery and finally that it undermined anti-slavery efforts. Free people of color who wished to “fight against slavery and for equal rights as American citizens” viewed this plan as effectively abandoning those still enslaved.1 “Abolitionists saw the colonization movement as a slaveholders’ plot to safeguard the institution of slavery by ridding the country of free blacks.”1 Colonizationists maintained that their motives were benevolent and philanthropic, but even supporters questioned whether the idea of relocation was even practically feasible or financially realistic.

In the 1820’s and 1830’s, the movement gained support in the state legislature and with citizens throughout the state, but by late 1830’s interest and activity declined.1 Black Hoosiers opposed it vehemently, resolving at an 1842 convention that, “we believe no well-informed colonizationist is a devoted friend to the moral elevation of the people of color.” The ICS reacted with renewed efforts for the movement when, in 1845, the Rev. Benjamin T. Kavanaugh was named as its agent. He was tasked with raising awareness, organizing supporters and local auxiliaries, fundraising and emigrant recruitment.1 By 1848, the Rev. James Mitchel, a Methodist minister, abolitionist and colonization advocate, took over as agent and secretary of the American Colonization Society of Indiana. Both Kavanaugh and Mitchell recruited black ministers to raise awareness in the black community and to identify potential emigrants. These men, the Rev. John McKay and the Rev. Willis R. Revels, had limited success. “Revels won approval from black citizens… but soon gave up his post.” Kavanaugh attributed this to pressure from abolitionists.1 McKay was appointed as, “an agent for the board to purchase land in Liberia and promote colonization among Indiana black citizens.”1 In the 1850’s he traveled to Liberia with two groups of emigrants and observed the colony, reporting back enthusiastically. Escalating tension between the north and south over slavery, and increasing violence over issues such as the question over expansion of slavery into new territories, led to laws in Indiana that gave free people of color reason to consider emigration, even if the vast majority chose to remain in the country of their birth. During the period of the 1830s until the 1850’s, according to Anthrop, “increasing tensions nationally between anti-slavery and slavery factions… resulted in increasing prejudice against blacks. The culmination of this prejudice in Indiana was Article XIII of the Indiana Constitution of 1851,” which prohibited blacks and mulattoes to enter or settle in the state. Fines set for violation were appropriated to “defray costs of sending blacks in Indiana to Liberia.” Further legislation, “required all blacks already living in Indiana to register with the clerk of the circuit court.”1

In 1852, ICS advocacy led to a state initiative when the Indiana General Assembly formed the Indiana Colonization Board and began providing funds to help, “Indiana free blacks emigrate to Liberia on the western coast of Africa.”1 The state government appropriated funds to finance the purchase of land in Liberia and for the transport and support of immigrants. According to Anthrop, “eighty-three” free people of color emigrated from Indiana to Liberia, but the state board facilitated the departure of “only forty- seven” of those emigrants. During the 1840’s, 1850’s and 1860’s advocates and critics within the movement and the government squabbled over complaints about financial arrangements, funding cuts, fundraising methods, settlement location and administration and over negotiations with the government of Liberia. James Mitchell, in an 1855 “Circular to the Friends of African Colonization” apprising society members of the progress and obstacles faced by the movement, admitted the paltry sum of $65 per person for emigration was insufficient to provide for transportation, and offered nothing for support or protection of immigrants. In the final report in 1863 to the State Board by its secretary, the author William Wick, concluded that the movement had been a “total failure.” Wick attributed this failure to the ambition of formerly enslaved people to be equal in social status to white Americans.

The types of records in the sub collection of the Colonization movement include government documents, such as the report to the State Board of Colonization, organization records, such as Indiana Colonization Society reports, circulars that act as newsletters to supporters, private society correspondence disseminated to influential political operatives and the society’s monthly publication The Colonizationist, as well as a campaign literature from the 1860 race for the governorship of Indiana in a the form of speech by Oliver P. Morton. These materials offer insight into the theoretical and philosophical tenets of the Colonization movement, document its efforts, successes and obstacles, provide historical context and can be used to map out its historical trajectory from a burgeoning movement to abject failure. Scholars and students will find these items to be a rich resource for exploring the history of the Back-to-Africa movement. Genealogists and historians will find in these primary sources a wealth of information on the individuals active in this movement, and on those who ultimately emigrated to Liberia.

Colonizationist May 1847, vol. 2, no.2

ISL_IND_Pam_Coloniz_1847

The Colonizationist, owned by John D. Defrees, was the monthly publication of the Indiana Colonization Society and was printed by the Indiana State Journal in Indianapolis. The ICS, formed in 1829 and based in Indianapolis, advocated for the relocation of free people of color and emancipated slaves to settlements in Liberia, Africa. The publication was edited by B.T. Kavanaugh and P.D. Gurley. Kavanaugh was a Methodist minister and the agent of the ICS. Gurley, who was the minster of the First Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis from 1840-49, and again in 1859, was appointed the Chaplain of the United States.

Twelfth Annual Report of the Indiana Colonization Society, 1847

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Report by the Indiana Colonization Society on the proceedings of its annual meeting held Jan. 6, 1847 at Robert’s Chapel in Atlanta, Jackson Township, Hamilton County, Indiana. This report includes the meeting minutes which describe the proceeds of the event, such as topical addresses and speeches given, motions made by members and resolutions adopted by the society. It also includes detailed financial proposals and cost estimates for the scheme, statistics on the organization’s success, lists of ships with the ship name and year of passage from 1843-46, and an overview of the national organization’s statistics. The official publication, The Colonizationist, and the individual efforts of members, such as the Rev. B.T. Kavanaugh are discussed. An appendix lists “twenty reasons for the success of Liberia.”

Circular to the Friends of African Colonization

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This 1855 circular is addressed to the Friends of African Colonization. It is comprised of a one page introduction and a long letter addressed to the Indiana State Board of Colonization. The author, the Rev. James Mitchell was the Secretary of the American Colonization Society of Indiana. In the circular, he lists reasons for inaction of the board in the past, legislative, financial and administrative obstacles faced, and lays out a detailed plan for action.

Letters on the Relation of the White and African races in the United States, and the Necessity of the Colonization of the Latter

ISL_IND_PAM_LtrsColMov1860

This pamphlet is a collection of private letters written by James Mitchell as agent of the Indiana Colonization Society, on the subject of the African Colonization movement, detailing the actions, policies and theoretical foundation of the organization. It is addressed to the candidates for the 1860 U.S. presidential election. Mitchell seeks to privately communicate the aims of the movement to popular leaders and the future president. The correspondence includes an extract from the 1852 report to the legislature of the state of Indiana titled, “The Separation of the Races Just and Politic,” an 1857 letter from Mitchell to President James Buchanan and an 1849 letter to President Zachary Taylor.

The Speech of Oliver P. Morton, the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, 1860

ISL_IND_Pam_Mort_Spch_1860

This is a speech by Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Indiana, Oliver P. Morton, delivered in Terre Haute on March 10, 1860. The speech discusses campaign issues, such as popular sovereignty, the expansion of slavery into new territories, “sectional parties,” John Brown, the fugitive slave law, hostility between north and south, abolition, tariffs and homesteading legislation. Morton and his running mate won the election of 1860, with Lane opting to take a seat in the Senate, Morton became the 14th Governor of the state of Indiana.

Report on colonization for 1863 to the state board

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This 1863 report on the Colonization movement is authored by the Secretary of the State Board of Colonization William W. Wick. It is addressed to the Colonization Board, but is intended for all members of the legislature and the public. Wick writes to report the “total failure” of the Colonization movement.

References
1. Anthrop, M. (March 2000). Indiana emigrants to Liberia. The Indiana Historian, March 2000. Indiana Historical Bureau.
Retrieved from https://www.in.gov/history/files/inemigrants.pdf.

Notes on other resources
The American Colonization Society Collection at the Library of Congress – letters from Indiana emigrants
American Colonization Society Collection
http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/coll/007-b.html
American Colonization Society records, 1792-1964
https://lccn.loc.gov/mm78010660

This blog post was written by Ricke Gritten, Indiana Division intern at the Indiana State Library.

Crown Hill Cemetery

There is a book about Crown Hill Cemetery that I recently ran across in the Indiana State Library’s collections. The book has a particularly long title – “The Origin, Organization and Management of Crown Hill Cemetery with Observations on Ancient and Modern Modes of Burial, together with a List of Officers, Corporators and Lot-holders for 1875” – but it was the latter part of the title that piqued my interest. A list of lot-holders sure sounds like a useful resource for researchers looking for names of the earliest purchasers of burial plots. There are also two later editions of the book published in 1888 and 1896, containing growing lists of lot-holders.

Organized in 1863, Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis was incorporated as a non-profit, non-denominational and non-sectarian cemetery with a board of thirty corporators. At the time, there was a critical need for a new city cemetery for Indianapolis. The old Greenlawn Cemetery had become inadequate for future expansion and its proximity to the flood-prone White River was no longer desirable. The collective civic-mindedness of James Blake, Calvin Fletcher, Sr. and James M. Ray helped them form a group to select a site and draw up plans for a new cemetery. The Daily State Sentinel newspaper announced the June 1, 1864 formal dedication of Crown Hill Cemetery and that a public sale of lots would then begin on June 8, 1864.

 

The 1875 edition of the book, with 65 pages, was issued in both a plain cloth binding and also a more ornate embossed cover with gilded edges. The 1888 edition was issued as a paperback pamphlet and expanded to 92 pages. Unlike the 1875 and 1896 editions, there are no photographs in the 1888 edition.

The 1896 edition expanded in both page size and length to include 217 pages, mostly consisting of lot-holder names, and it originally included a folded map of the cemetery grounds.

The map is dated 1895 and the Indiana Division’s copy will require some conservation treatment before it is ready to be digitized. However, the entire 1896 book can be viewed at Internet Archive.

In all three volumes, the surnames are only arranged alphabetically by the first letter and are not in strict order. After a bit of hunting, I was pleased to find my ancestor, George Buchter, listed in all three editions as the owner of Lot 57 in Section 16. Keep in mind that finding a person’s name listed in the books does not imply that person was living, dead or buried in the lot. His wife Barbara was buried there in 1871, and George died in 1879 and was buried there. His children continued to use the family burial lot until 1945. Since these books are not lists of all the burials in the cemetery, better resources for discovering all Crown Hill burials are Find-A-Grave, the Crown Hill burial locator or the Crown Hill office.

For more information, read the facts and events on the timeline of Crown Hill history. View select photographs of tombstones and buildings at Crown Hill in the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology’s digital collection available through Indiana Memory. Take a look at the April 1896 article in Park and Cemetery, a monthly journal devoted to parks and cemeteries. Even in the nineteenth century, Crown Hill was nationally recognized as an excellently planned and maintained cemetery, as it remains today.

This blog post was written by Indiana Division Librarian Andrea Glenn. For more information, contact the Indiana Division at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

United States Marine Band materials

United States Marine Band, also known as “The President’s Own,” was created on July 11, 1798 through an act of the United States Congress. The band is made up of active military officers and is part of the United States Marine Corps. It is the oldest military musical ensemble in the United States and the country’s oldest musical organization of professional musicians. The band performs at various government-related events, including the presidential inauguration. In addition, the United States Marine Band has its own concert tour, giving annual performances in various cities across the nation, a tradition since 1891.

Interesting facts:

John Philip Sousa, noted composer and musician, served as leader of the United States Marine Band from 1880 until 1892.

The United States Marine Band played its first inauguration in 1801, when Thomas Jefferson became the third President of the United States.

Famous songs of the United States Marine Band included “Hail to the Chief,” “Semper Fidelis,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and “The Washington Post.”

The Indiana State Library is fortunate to have in its federal documents collection two of the United States Marines Band’s albums in CD format, “Arioso” and “Picture Studies.”

The following slideshow shows other United States Marines Band items in the Indiana State Library’s federal documents collection.

 

You can learn more about the United States Marine Band here and on Facebook. In addition, you can listen to performances on the band’s YouTube channel and view the United States Marine Band’s full discography here.

This blog post was written by Michele Fenton, monographs and federal documents catalog librarian.

New Directors Workshop 2018

On Aug. 15, 2018, at the Indiana State Library, 32 new public library directors, representing 24 counties in Indiana, were introduced to each other and to the Library Directors One-Stop Guide. Public library consultants Karen Ainslie and Angela Fox hosted the annual New Director Workshop and presented on multiple topics.

The workshop offered an orientation to the many resources of the guidebook, including contacts for public library directors. The guidebook’s 20 chapters inform directors on the many tasks and responsibilities necessary for the day-to-day management of public libraries.

Welcome, new directors.

The opening presentation focused on the distinct roles of the director versus the board, including standards, library laws, certification and professional development. Additional presentations covered sharing resources, the INSPIRE database and other digital resources. The morning activities concluded with a walking tour of the Indiana State Library.

In the afternoon, directors heard about the roles that the Department of Local Government Finance and State Board of Accounts play in the budget and financing of public libraries. A survey of grants was followed by a session on public purchasing and public works to familiarize directors with the bid process and obtaining quotes. Also included was an overview of the children’s services provided by the Indiana State Library. The day concluded with a group picture taken near the Great Hall.

This blog post was written by Karen Ainslie and Angela Fox, public library consultants, Indiana State Library.

Meet the intern: Abby Currier

Meet Abby Currier, one of the Indiana State Library’s newest interns. Abby grew up in New Hampshire and went to school in Pennsylvania and this is her first time in the Midwest. She says she is “thoroughly enjoying it and am glad that I can now add Indy to places that I have lived.”

Which school are you currently attending?
I am currently at IUPUI, but I graduated from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with my bachelor’s in history and Spanish in May of 2017.

What is your major?
I am a dual degree student in both public history and library science.

What is your job here at the Indiana State Library?
I work as an intern in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division.

Favorite part of the library or favorite thing about working at the library?
I like having the opportunity to discover new things and learn about the past both here in Indy and across the world.

How will this internship further your career?
I am hoping to work in an archive someday, so this is a perfect experience for me to learn about the profession that I want to enter.

Favorite place to eat here in Indy?
I don’t eat out a lot, but when I do my favorite place to go is Bru Burger downtown.

Favorite TV show?
My favorite TV show normally depends on what I am binging on Netflix at the moment, but I really enjoy “Hogan’s Heroes” and “M*A*S*H.”

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director.

John H. Holliday Civil War pamphlets

Among the many special collections housed at the Indiana State Library is the Holliday Collection, named for its donor and prominent Indianapolis citizen, John H. Holliday.  Born in 1846, Holliday was raised and educated in Indiana and eventually founded the Indianapolis News, one of the city’s largest newspapers at the time. He briefly served with the 137th Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He died in 1921 and afterward his estate donated numerous books, letters and other materials to the Indiana State Library.

The donated collection contains hundreds of pamphlets covering issues of both local and national interest. These pamphlets were loosely grouped together by topic and bound into large and unwieldy books. Recently, State Library’s Preservation Department has been hard at work painstakingly removing them from their old bindings and fixing any damage. Afterward, they are sent to the Catalog Division to ensure that they can be searched via the online catalog.

Here are some examples of recently added pamphlets covering various issues related to the American Civil War.

One of the earliest pamphlets in the collection is this tract by abolitionist Theodore Parker in which he defends John Brown’s attempt in 1859 to initiate an armed slave revolt after conducting a raid on the United States arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.

This pamphlet is a compilation of vignettes critical of the military actions of U.S. Army General George McClellan. It was written by George Wilkes, a war correspondent who was present at many battles and whose public criticism of McClellan contributed to the latter being removed from command in 1862 after the Battle of Antietam.

This leaflet describes the execution of Robert Gay, believed to be the first instance of an execution of a U.S. army soldier on the grounds of desertion. Gay, a member of the 71st Indiana Volunteers, was found guilty of defecting to the Confederacy and was executed March 27, 1863 at Camp Morton, located in Indianapolis.

To find more materials on the Civil War, please search the Indiana State Library’s online catalog.

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.”

Journey of a librarian: Library travels and retirement

My professional journey has literally been a trip from here to there in the library world. It all started when I went to library school directly from my undergrad program in 1975 -one of the best choices I ever made.

Current head shot.

What was the library world like in the late 1970s? The ’70s were information-rich with bound books full of knowledge. I learned to leverage the resources, whether it was doing reference or interlibrary loan. I started out at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the granddaddy of all Carnegies, as a science librarian. It wasn’t all low tech, as there were dial-up computers. I quickly stopped searching Chemical Abstracts by hand and switched to database searching. The rapid automation of libraries for information searching led to significant advancement of library operations.

From Pittsburgh I headed to Houston, where I entered the world of a corporate librarian. The company was a geotechnical engineering firm and I continued to provide science information. The continued automation of library tasks was present in this new position. A colleague and I were tasked with re-cataloging the corporation’s entire library collection. Fortunately we didn’t have to this manually. This involved training in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), an online resource for cataloging books and providing interlibrary loans. This was fine training in the library world of providing access to information.

In the Alleghenies in western Pennsylvania, circa 1978.

There was a short pause in my library travels, though. I returned to Troy, Michigan and was expecting a second child. I didn’t work as a librarian at this time. I became something of a “power user” of my local Michigan public libraries, the St. Clair Shores Public Library and the Troy Public Library.

Once the children were school age we moved to Carmel, Indiana, where I worked as an instructional aide in an elementary school. Besides my hours coinciding with my children’s schedule, I increased my technology competencies with instructional software and local area network administration. This segued into my position at Indianapolis Public Library, where I provided instruction on the online catalog and Microsoft Office applications. Now I was skilled, not only in library tools like cataloging and databases, but with a background in operating systems and network administration.

My traveling was not over, because I next moved to Los Angeles, where I worked first for Burbank Public Library and then for the Los Angeles Public Library. I had returned to public libraries. Hallelujah! This is where I wanted to be, but it’s not the end of my story.

My final move was to return to Indiana to the great city of Indianapolis. Indiana – and Indianapolis in particular – has a great tradition of public libraries. I was blessed to be hired by Indiana State Library to be a public library consultant. It is the culmination of a career of public service with strong information skills. I offered the Indiana public libraries my expertise in public libraries, information and technology services.

I will retire shortly. I look back at libraries in the ’70s compared to libraries of today and I marvel at what must be in store for the future. I have never been static in the library profession and I won’t be static in retirement. I will continue my travels where destinations will be determined not by employment but the attraction of beautiful sights and public libraries.

This blog post was written by Karen Ainslie, public library consultant and state E-rate coordinator. For more information, contact the Library Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or via email.

INSPIRE turns 20!

Can you believe it’s been 20 years since INSPIRE was born? Here are a few other highlights of 1998:

  • Google was founded in Menlo Park, California.
  • “E.R.” was the most popular TV show, followed by “Friends.”
  • The song “The  Boy is Mine” by Brandy and Monica was number one for 13 weeks on the Billboard charts.
  • A gallon of gas was $1.15.
  • Windows 98 debuted in June.
  • The Ford Cougar was first produced.
  • Harry Caray died Feb. 18.
  • The band Coldplay formed.

In January of 1998, INSPIRE began as a collaboration between the Indiana State Library, INCOLSA and Lilly Endowments. INSPIRE is a free service for all Indiana residents. Users can access INSPIRE via the internet at school, home, local public library or workplace.

INSPIRE it… don’t Google! Okay, so maybe that’s not quite as catchy as saying “Google it,” but using INSPIRE is your best bet when looking for articles, biographies, history and other resources. Information in INSPIRE databases is vetted and authoritative, so you can rest-assured that you’re getting reliable information and not something that can be manipulated. Did I mention INSPIRE is free!? Tomorrow, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Indiana State Library, we celebrate INSPIRE with stories about INSPIRE, learning and networking at INSPIRE Day. Here’s to another 20 years and beyond!

This blog post was written by Kimberly Brown-Harden, northwest regional coordinator, Indiana State Library. For more information, email Kim.

Authors’ ‘love letters’ hidden in Indiana library books

The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award is celebrating 10 years this year! To help celebrate the award, there are over 15 letters from Indiana authors being tucked into books in public libraries all around the state. Lucky readers will find these notes and will get to keep them. The program is called “Love Letters to Our State’s Readers” and is coordinated by the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award and the Indiana Center for the Book at the Indiana State Library.

Participating authors include Ray Boomhower, Sarah Gerkensmeyer, John Green, Norbert Krapf, Lori Rader-Day, Scott Russell Sanders and Barb Shoup. The notes range from short and sweet handwritten postcards to long typed letters to the reader. Participating libraries were chosen based on geographic areas where the authors are from. When a reader finds a note in a book, they receive a postcard about the program as well. The postcard says:

“When reading a story, do you ever wonder about the author who created it? They think about you! And many of them are even Hoosiers like yourself, including the author of the book you’re reading now. As we celebrate 10 years of the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, some of our past winners wanted to thank you for your role in keeping their stories alive. Enjoy this note from them. You’re welcome to keep it!”

Readers interested in finding a note should watch the #INauthor hashtag. As notes are being hidden, clues as to their whereabouts will be posted on Twitter and Facebook. Readers who find the notes are welcome to post out as well using the #INauthor hashtag to share their excitement. Notes will hit library shelves as early as Aug. 6, 2018 and will continue to be hidden in the weeks leading up to the Indiana Authors Award Dinner on Oct. 13, 2018. Caity Withers, development officer at the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, had this to say about the program, “If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the 10 years of this award program, it’s that the relationship between readers and writers is symbiotic. Writers start as readers who fell in love with a book and we need writers to keep creating books readers will fall in love with. Indiana is full of book lovers, both readers and writers, and we’re excited to celebrate them through this initiative.”

Want to learn more about authors in your own community? Check out the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award or The Indiana Center for the Book.

Submitted by Suzanne Walker, Indiana Young Readers Center librarian at the Indiana State Library and director of the Indiana Center for the Book.