Evaluating online resources for COVID-19 data

Resources online for COVID-19 data are already plentiful. You can do a search today and find data on the internet from all over the world, from many sources and for a variety of audiences. So, this is a good time to review the ways we evaluate sources for data and information.

There is no one perfect method for validating a data source. The usefulness of the data does not necessarily determine its reliability, nor does its timeliness or currency. When you choose a good book to read, you generally look for a good author, right? When you’re looking for good data, you need to choose a data source that has been verified by other sources.

This will ensure that the next time you search for data, you know where it’s from, what makes it a credible source, and how reliable it is.

If you do a Google search on “evaluating sources,” you can find several helpful mnemonics and acronyms that can help you remember how to search safely:

SIFT = Stop. Investigate. Find. Trace.

CRAP Test/CARP/CRAPPO/TRAAP = Currency. Relevance. Authority. Accuracy. Purpose.

CRITIC = Claim? Role of claimant? Information backing the claim? Testing? Independent verification? Conclusion?

PROVEN = Purpose. Relevance. Objectivity. Verifiability. Expertise. Newness.

Any one of these methods is useful for evaluating information sources. When it comes to data specifically, these are important questions to ask:

Where is the data from?
What was the source for this number or set of numbers? Did this come from a database that was available to you online? What organization created or collected the data? For what purpose? Was it a government information resource, a well-known national nonprofit organization or a college or university-owned research center? Was the data private or public information?

Who owns or maintains the data?
What is the name of the individual researcher or organization which conducted the survey or held the focus groups or interviews? What agency or organization published its findings with a publicized database or report? Who maintains the website you downloaded the data from?

When was the data made available compared to when it was collected?
What was the time frame for data collection? When was the database or report based on this data published? What date was the data released? When did you access the data?

How reliable is the data?
For how many years has the study been done? Can the data be verified? Can the study be reproduced? What methods were used to collect the data? Is the study peer reviewed? How are the data collection methods evaluated? How reputable are the organizations producing the data? Who else repeatedly uses this data?

Here are some examples of current, reliable sources for COVID-19 data:
The most recent COVID-19 data available for our state comes directly from the Indiana Department of Health. This is a government information source. The ISDH has been transparent in releasing current information daily throughout the pandemic. Since we get the numbers directly from the ISDH, it is our primary data source. We’re not relying on a secondary source for information.

For federal statistics on COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a COVID Data Tracker with cases and deaths by state and county.

For global statistics on COVID-19, the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering maintains a COVID-19 dashboard that shows cases by country and world region. It includes information about data sources and technical production of the database.

Please see the Indiana State Data Center’s Coronavirus Data and Map Resources, by Geography on the Indiana State Library’s website for more data sources.

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.

This election season, try some presidential histories!

With all of the current media platforms in use, one cannot ignore the upcoming presidential election and the candidates. If things you hear or read make you wonder about former presidents, the Indiana State Library has biographies for all 44 ready to be checked out. We also have books about their families and social and domestic aspects of the presidential life.

These men had varied and interesting lives before becoming president. Twelve presidents were generals: George Washington, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison and Dwight D. Eisenhower. You can read about their service in “Generals in the White House.” Written in 1945, it was published before President Eisenhower’s term in office. “Country life in America as lived by ten presidents of the United States” gives little-known facts about presidents who grew up and preferred an agrarian life.

If you’re interested in something more political, try “Command of Office: How War, Secrecy and Deception Transformed the Presidency from Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush” by historian Stephen Richards Graubard, a book about the history of presidential power.

“The Post-Presidency from Washington to Clinton” describes the careers of 30 presidents after leaving the White House. Early presidents, like Washington and Thomas Jefferson, retired to their plantations, but continued to influence politics. Modern presidents are often on the lecture circuit and authoring books.

In our media-driven world, much is discussed about how the press portrays our chief executives. Presidents and the press have long had a contentious relationship, but Hoosier Benjamin Harrison was the first president to attend the annual Gridiron Dinner, an occasion to trade good-natured insults with the press corps. During the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, journalist Stephan Early became the first White House secretary charged with only press responsibilities.

In “Who speaks for the President?: the White House press secretary from Cleveland to Clinton.” W. Dale Nelson explains that the press secretary “must try to serve both the president and the press, without doing a disservice to either.”

“The American Presidency in Political Cartoons, 1776-1976” and “The Ungentlemanly Art: A History of American Political Cartoons” both reflect the press’s opinion of the president and his policies during his term in office. In one image from 1807, George Washington is depicted with a halo and a lion and eagle at his side, in contrast to a snake and lizard beside Thomas Jefferson. Political cartoons most often focus on the perceived reach of presidential power and differences with congress.

The State Library also has many books about presidential families. In “The Fathers of American Presidents from Augustine Washington to William Blythe and Roger Clinton,” the author tries to “determine how each father may have shaped and influenced his famous son’s life and what kind of father-son relationship they had.”

“First Mothers: The Women Who Shaped the Presidents,” by Bonnie Angelo recounts stories of the remarkable women who played a large role in developing the character of their sons.

No story of a presidency can be complete without examining the role of the first lady. “The Presidents’ Wives: Reassessing the Office of First Lady,” published in 2000, details the different approaches to the somewhat unofficial duties, how public opinion has affected the role and the future of the office.

“America’s Royalty: All the Presidents’ Children” authors Sandra L.Quinn-Musgrove and Sanford Kanter were not finding any books on all presidential children, so they decided to write one in order to convince students that history is made up of real people that are fun and intriguing.

Presidents and their families have often been enmeshed in scandals. In her 1973 book “Scandals in the Highest Office; Facts and Fictions in the Private Lives of our Presidents,” author Hope Ridings Miller writes “The American political disposition seems to combine a desire to regard every chief executive as the embodiment of perfection with a tendency to relish inferences that he is, or has been morally errant – particularly with women.”

If you want something lighthearted, read “Presidential Anecdotes.” Author Paul F. Boller, Jr. tells stories from Washington to Ronald Reagan. Some are dramatic, but most are amusing. He writes, “Reagan, famous for his one-liners even after being shot on Mar. 30, 1981, greeting White House aides the morning after surgery he quipped ‘I knew it would be too much to hope we could skip a staff meeting.’”

But perhaps Calvin Coolidge summed up the presidency best. According Boller’s book, one evening while Coolidge was walking around the White House grounds with Senator Sheldon P. Spencer of Missouri, the senator “pointed to the Executive Mansion and said facetiously: ‘I wonder who lives there?’ ‘Nobody,’ said ‘Silent Cal’ glumly. ‘They just come and go.’”

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

2020 census operations continue; self-response deadline extended

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic created delays in the Census Bureau’s 2020 census operations, the 2020 census continues to move forward. Because of the pause due to the pandemic, it is important for librarians to get the word out that it’s not too late to participate in the census. U.S. residents now have until Oct. 31 to use self-response methods to complete the forms for their households.Beginning on Aug. 11, the Census Bureau plans to send out workers for the non-response follow-up part of census operations. Census workers will be clearly identified as they go door-to-door to visit homes. They will operate through Oct. 31 to help residents complete questionnaires until every household is counted.

This means July is a key month to remind library patrons to count their own households before a census worker comes to their door. Librarians can instruct patrons to follow the steps below in order to help them complete the census:

  • Go to the Census Bureau’s online portal and enter the Census ID they received in the mail. If they don’t have a Census ID, click the button that says Start Questionnaire, then click the link that says “If you do not have a Census ID, click here” and follow the prompts.

OR

  • Call the Census Bureau at 844-330-2020 for English, or at 844-468-2020 for Spanish. For deaf assistance and languages other than English, see responding by phone.

OR

  • Fill out the 2020 Census form they received in the mail and mail it back.

It’s that easy, and it should only take 10 minutes!

It is important to continue providing information about the 2020 census to ensure a complete and accurate count of our communities. This once-per-decade count will determine political representation, federal and state funding and planning decisions for the next 10 years. Find outreach materials on the Census Bureau’s website and Indiana’s 2020 Census website.

Library patrons might also be interested in 2020 census jobs being offered by the Census Bureau. Patrons can apply for jobs here.

The State Data Center at the Indiana State Library is here to help you with questions and further outreach through Oct. 31. Contact us here.

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.

Government Information Day virtual conference

Save the date! The Indiana State Library and INDIGO are pleased to announce that Government Information Day will take place on August 6-7. The conference will now be held virtually. The two-day event will feature seven programs promoting government information literacy and resources. The conference is free to attend. Public librarians will be eligible to earn LEUs for each session. This is the fourth Government Information Day, but the first in a virtual format.

Additionally, Federal Depository Library Program libraries in the west are hosting the “Western States Government Information Virtual Conference” on August 5-6. As such, both groups are working together to promote both events as part of Government Information Week. There is now an opportunity for librarians to view government information themed presentations Wednesday,Thursday and Friday, with a regional coordinators meeting on Tuesday. The first week of August will be referred to as “Government Information Week.”

Click here to register. Attendees will have the ability to register for as many or as few sessions as they desire. Below is the schedule for GID2020, along with session titles and a brief description of each talk. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Brent Abercrombie, Indiana Regional Depository librarian and GID Planning Committee chair.

Government Information Day 2020 virtual conference schedule:

GID2020 titles, presenters and descriptions:

“What does climate change mean for Indiana?”
Presenter: Melissa Widhalm, Operations Manager, Purdue Climate Change Research Center
Our climate shapes our lives. The ways we build our roads, manage our farms, move our water and use energy are all influenced by our unique Indiana climate. But our climate has been changing, and it will continue changing in ways that affect our productivity, our safety and our livelihoods. We need to know what climate change means for Indiana. Led by the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment provides the latest scientific research to help Hoosiers understand and prepare for the impacts of a changing climate. This presentation will highlight results from the IN CCIA analysis.

“Data.Census.gov”
Presenter: Katie Springer, Data Center Librarian, Indiana State Library
In March of 2020, the Census Bureau’s data portal for the last few censuses, American FactFinder, ceased to exist. This means no more long lists of complicated geographies to sort through! This also means we’ll have a brand new system to learn. The new dissemination platform is at Data.Census.gov. This session will demonstrate the new platform. The session will explore the new way to search for census data and learn how to filter searches, download and modify tables and view maps. “Put on your learning caps!”

“Legal Research Basics for Librarians”
Presenter: Cheri Harris, Certification Program Director and Legal Consultant, Indiana State Library
This presentation will help library workers answer legal research questions from patrons and will also help them assist patrons who are doing their own legal research. Starting with an overview of different types of legal authority, the presentation will help distinguish between primary and secondary authority. Strategies and tools for finding state and federal statutes, regulations and case law will be reviewed. Paying special attention to Indiana materials, a demonstration on how to use a variety of free websites to conduct legal research online be shared. Finally, the session will conclude with tips for how to stick to conducting legal research and avoid providing legal advice.

“Statewide input with local impact”
Presenter: Ashley Schenck and Tyler Brown, Indiana Management Performance Hub
Indiana Management Performance Hub provides analytics solutions tailored to address complex management and policy questions enabling improved outcomes for Hoosiers. MPH empowers its partners to leverage data in innovative ways, facilitating data-driven decision making and data-informed policy making.

“Hindsight is 20/20 in 2020”
Presenters: Chandler Lighty, Executive Director, Indiana State Archives; Claire Horton, Deputy Director, Indiana State Archives; and Meaghan Fukunaga, Deputy Director for Electronic Records, Indiana Archives and Records Management
The Indiana Archives and Records Administration turned 40 in 2019. Hear about the current state and future plans for the State Archives. Learn about the archival collections and services, and how IARA staff can assist public library patrons with their information needs.

“Harrison’s Republic and the Spirit of Democracy”
Presenter: Charles Hyde, President and CEO, Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
“An American citizen could not be a good citizen who did not have a hope in his heart.” With this ringing invocation, the 23rd President called the United States of America to higher purpose, and helped set it on course for the modern era. While his signal leadership is under known, there is no mistaking his spirited advocacy of some of the most important policies that have come to define our country legally and spiritually over the past century. The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site carries on this legacy in innovative, impactful and engaging ways, with unexpected relevance to conversations our country is having today.

“Publicly Available Information Resources on U.S. National Security”
Presenter: Bert Chapman, Government Information, History, and Political Science Librarian, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies
This presentation will describe how to find and use publicly-available information resources. It will stress the constitutional foundations of U.S. national security policy and present examples of U.S. national security literature through annual defense spending bills, materials from U.S. armed service branches, congressional oversight committees and various intelligence agencies.

This blog post was written by Indiana State Library federal documents coordinator Brent Abercrombie. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services at 317-232-3678 or via “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Working from home, away from the library

Indiana State Library has been closed to the public since March 16. Public service staff continued to work in the building for another week until Gov. Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-02, a directive for Hoosiers to stay home. Previously, it had already been a strange week without any patrons in the building; just interacting with them over live chat and emails.

Our building is one of the most beautiful in the state, but it’s designed for lots of people to be there. We also missed our patrons!

On March 23, the state librarian announced that the building would be closed and we would work from home. So, off we went with laptops, instructions on how to access our work electronically and whatever items we thought we might need to continue to serve the public.

Working from home was a new experience to most of us and we realized that we missed each other. If you have never worked from home, it brings both rewards and challenges. After the first week, I polled my colleagues to see what they liked and did not like.  Overwhelmingly, they responded with “did not like” and “I miss the building, the patrons and interacting with my co-workers the most.” While we are still on live chat and available by email and phone, it is the personal interaction that makes being a librarian fun and interesting!

There are many advantages to working from home, but the ones most reported are the “relaxed dress code” and that short commute. One librarian reported, “I have only have a 20-second commute to my home office, and there’s no traffic. Normally, I commute 40-50 minutes one way each day.” Being around family all day has its blessings and its curses. Many people have loved being around their pets and “having the cat sleep on my lap while I do my work,” but one colleague said, “That _ _ _ dog is driving me crazy” – the dog she loves to spoil. Our surroundings can affect our adjustment, too. Many of us work in cubicles at the library, and one librarian said, “My best is having windows in my office. I have sunshine and fresh air and it’s great, but my worst is my decrepit and uncomfortable home office chair that I had already planned to replace in April, but am now stuck with.”

A commonly-reported downside was not having access to printed material. We have a robust digitization program, but the State Library has millions of books, Indiana newspapers on microfilm, one-of-a-kind pamphlet collection and maps that are not available online. Besides needing these for research, many of the staff just miss being around those books.

We have learned some valuable lessons from this necessary quarantine about our work life, our home life and ourselves. One librarian said working from home has forced her into a routine and “gives my life structure so that I do not turn into a complete couch potato.”  Many reported a new appreciation for balancing work and home life and the needs of their families, “having to juggle the demands of two small children with both my spouse’s and my work” and “my best is that I get to interact with my family, spend more time with them, on breaks and throughout the day. It is actually fun, because they are so entertaining.”

For myself, I have learned to appreciate my access to electronic connections and those people who are there to assist me when they do not work, the ready advice from my administration and colleagues about a myriad of issues that come up during the day. I miss the warmth, friendliness and professionalism of the library staff, and of course, just being in the beautiful Indiana State Library building!

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

2020 Census outreach

The U.S. Census Bureau held a kick-off for the 2020 Census ad campaign Tuesday, Jan. 14. For each decennial census, the Census Bureau hires an agency to conduct research and distribute messaging to encourage participation in the U.S. Census. The 2020 campaign, according to a Jan. 14 press release, “employs multi-language ads, partnerships and trusted voices.” The Census Bureau’s tagline, revealed in 2019 is “Shape your Future. Start here.” Examples of the new ads are available here. Census partners are encouraged to have local organizations use the national campaign materials in news media, social media and other outlets.

Efforts to publicize the census have been underway in Indiana for the past several years. The Philanthropy Alliance of Indiana made it a priority to connect its members with census resources early on in the state’s efforts. The Indiana State Library’s State Data Center has worked closely with the Indiana Business Research Center and the Indiana Department of Administration to coordinate efforts at the state level. The IBRC maintains the Census in Indiana website, a “for Hoosiers by Hoosiers” resource for digital and print materials promoting the 2020 census.

New on the site is a Promotional Tool Kit section which includes images and widgets for your websites. For librarians, there is a 2020 Census Toolkit containing important dates in the census, talking points and FAQs for Indiana libraries, an online resource list and ideas for displays and programs. The Census Bureau’s Facebook and Twitter pages contain daily updates about 2020 Census promotion. The State Data Center’s Facebook and Twitter pages post national, state and local updates about the 2020 census.

In mid-March, most U.S. households will receive an invitation to fill out the census online. A series of mailings will follow until each household completes the census online, by paper form or via telephone.

Please contact the library’s State Data Center for questions about the 2020 Census.

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.

Johns Hopkins University – Studies in Historical and Political Science series

The Indiana State Library has in its collections the Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science book series dating back to 1883. The latest book we currently have was published in 2018. That’s 135 years of materials that include very in-depth research on specific topics under the general subject of historical and political science. At the library, the earlier volumes – 1883-1957 – are in bound volumes with individual writings on a common topic. For instance, volume one is titled “Local Institutions” and includes 12 individual writings. A number of them were written by Herbert B. Adams with titles such as “Saxon Tithingmen in America,” “Norman Constables in America” and “Village Communities of Cape Anne and Salem.” Titles in the 1907 volume, for example, are “Internal Taxation in the Philippines” by J. S. Hord, “The Monroe Mission to France, 1794-1796” by B. W. Bond, Jr., “Maryland During the English Civil Wars. Part II” by B. C. Steiner, “The State in Constitutional and International Law” by R. T. Crane, “A Financial History of Maryland, 1789-1848” by H. S. Hanna and “Apprenticeship in American Trade Unions” by J. M. Motley.

Table of contents from Volume 1 of the series “Local Institutions.”

Table of contents from 1907 volume of the series “International and Colonial History.”

As the series continued, the individual writings became longer. Later volumes, starting in 1958, present each individual written piece published as a separate book, which is either part of, or all of, a volume. Still cataloged as part of the series, these in-depth materials continued to cover an increasingly wide range of topics as shown by the following titles: “Search and Seizure and the Supreme Court: A Study in Constitutional Interpretation” by Jacob. W. Landynski, published in 1966; “Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States” by Joseph November, published in 2012; “How NATO Adapts: Strategy and Organization in the Atlantic Alliance Since 1950” by Seth A. Johnston, published in 2017; and “The Bomb and America’s Missile Age” by Christopher Gainor, published in 2018. Each of these works can be useful in their own ways for scholars. For instance, for “The World of the Paris Café: Sociability among the French Working Class, 1789-1914” by W. Scott Haine, published in 1996, the author uses primary sources, such as marriage contracts, as well as police and bankruptcy records to investigate the café society in relation to work, leisure, gender roles and political activity. In “Juana the Mad: Sovereignty & Dynasty in Renaissance Europe” by Bethany Aram, published in 2005, the author draws on recent scholarship and years of archival research to assert that Juana was more complicated than she has previously been portrayed.

Cover of “Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States.”

Cover of “The Bomb and America’s Missile Age.”

We encourage scholars, researchers and people who are simply interested in historical and political science to use this material. The pieces issued as separate books after 1950 can be checked out. The materials in the bound volumes can be can be viewed in the library, or in some cases we can find digitized copies online. This incredible series of materials is waiting for those who are ready for them.

This blog post was written by Daina Bohr, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference & Government Services Collections at 317-232-3678 or via email.

Census Day

If you haven’t already, you’ll soon be hearing more and more about the 2020 census.

April 1, 2020 is Census Day and beginning in mid-March, everyone will be receiving census forms in the mail. If you do not like filling out paper forms, the 2020 count will be the first one to allow all U.S. households to respond online. You can also call 1-800 numbers to give responses over the phone. All of us will be asked the following: how many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020; whether the home is owned or rented; the sex, age and race of each person in your home; and whether a person in your home is of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin. Some of us will receive a longer form called The American Community Survey.

Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution mandates that a count of people residing in the U.S. take place every 10 years. Our founders used this to both determine the number of representatives each state has in Congress and the amount to tax each state. Putting the taxation and representation together assured an accurate count. The more people a state had, the more the state would be taxed and the fewer amount of people in a state meant fewer representatives for that state.

But, questions, questions… why so many questions?

The federal government bases a large amount of its spending decisions on census data. Census data also underpins state legislative districts and local boundaries, like city councils and school boards. Businesses use census data to determine where to build factories and stores. Are there enough skilled workers in an area? Are the people that live there interested in buying the stores products? A local government needs to know how many people are traveling to work and from where to determine roadways and other transportation needs. School districts need to know how many children are expected to attend, and their ages, in order to decide to build new schools and where to locate them.

The United States census is more than just a head count. The census has become a snapshot of America history. For more than 100 years, America was primarily a rural country of farms and villages, but the 1920 census showed that more Americans were living in towns and cities than on farms. In the 1840s, the common school movement was beginning to spread and the 1850 census asked if the person was at school within the last year and if the person was over 20 years of age, could they not read and write? By the 1890s, Civil War veterans were in their 50s and 60s and many were suffering from war wounds. The 1890 census questions included: Was this person a soldier, sailor or marine during the Civil War (U.S.A. or C.S.A.), or the widow of such a person? The nation was experiencing an economic collapse, and needed to plan for potential pensioners. The 1930 census included an unemployment census. Answers to questions helped steer the government’s response to the crash and the Great Depression. The 1940 census was the first to include a separate questionnaire on the nation’s housing conditions, including questions about indoor plumbing and kitchen appliances. In 1940, they asked if the home had a radio and in 1950 added televisions to the questions. By 1970, they asked if the home had a radio that was battery-operated.

Even though there are many questions, the Census Bureau will never ask you for:
Your social security number
Money or donations
Anything on behalf of a political party
Your bank or credit card account numbers

If someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau asks you for one of these things, it’s a scam, and you should not cooperate. For more information, visit Avoiding Fraud and Scams.

If you would like to learn more about the U.S. census questions click here.

The Indiana State Library  has a number of good books on the history and importance of the census:
Alterman, Hyman. 1969. “Counting people: the census in history.” New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.
Anderson, Margo J., and Stephen E. Fienberg. 1999. “Who counts?: the politics of census-taking in contemporary America.” New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Anderson, Margo J. 1988. “The American census: a social history.” New Haven: Yale University Press.
Cassedy, James H. 1969. “Demography in early America: beginnings of the statistical mind, 1600-1800.” Cambridge: Harvard University Press
Klein, Herbert S. 2004. “A population history of the United States.” Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

This blog post was written by Marcia Caudell, supervisor of the Reference and Government Services Division at the Indiana State Library. Contact the reference desk at 317-232-3678 for more information. 

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch to chair Indiana 2020 Census Complete Count Committee

Here at the Indiana State Library, our Indiana State Data Center Program has had an official partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau since 1978. We share statistical information and talk about the importance of access to good public data on a daily basis. Each decade, however, our efforts with the Census Bureau ramp up and we help “count everyone once, only once, in the right place” as of Census Day, April 1. The State of Indiana includes multiple stakeholders who take part in this effort.

On Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb announced that Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch will lead Indiana’s statewide Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census. The goal of the committee is to encourage all Hoosiers to answer the census. Indiana’s CCC kick-off meeting will be Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, at 1 p.m. Eastern in the Indiana Government Center South Auditorium. You are invited. Register for the meeting here

The 2020 Census will be the very first census that provides online response. People can answer via their smartphones, use their home computers and laptops or go to their local library and use a public computer terminal. Because of this, libraries will see increased traffic next year during March and April. Indiana librarians will receive questions about what the census does and why the Census Bureau counts people. We will need to provide help with how it’s done.

This May, the American Library Association released its Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census. It explains the importance of the 2020 Census and also addresses the risks that we face if groups of people are undercounted in 2020. This is the reason that CCCs and promotional campaigns carry weight. Our efforts will impact the accuracy and completeness of next year’s count. Libraries are trusted voices, and librarians can make efforts to prepare ourselves to inform our communities.

Start learning about the census with Census Bureau’s Shape Your Future. Start Here website. Get details about promoting the census locally on the 2020 Census in Indiana website. Register and attend the CCC kick-off on Monday, Aug. 19 to learn more!

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.

Disaster management – water leak

Building leaks happen, especially with older buildings like the Indiana State Library. In April of this year, an air conditioning unit’s leak caused water to spill into the library. Two floors were affected by the leak. The fourth floor leak created a harmless pool of water on the floor, but the third floor leak caused damage to library printed materials.

The leak likely occurred on a Sunday, as the library’s conservator, Seth Irwin, found the water damaged material Monday morning. The water damaged several documents from the library’s federal documents collection. Library staff moved quickly to minimize damage. Tables were set up, and fans brought into the room, as the conservator and his intern worked to separate and gently dry the damaged material. The bulk of the damaged items were promotional material for the U.S. Nursing Corps. The material included books, pamphlets, photographs and a couple of large broadsides.

Treating the photographs was fairly straightforward, but one of the broadsides posed a challenge. The two broadsides were folded before they were damaged by water. The conservator was able to unfold the items, but one of the posters was rather large. Unfolded, the item barely fit in the conservation lab’s sink. The poster was treated, cleaned and re-enforced so that it can be displayed for a future exhibit.

Luckily, the damage was relatively small in scale. After the incident, new procedures to minimize the damage of a future leak were implemented. The area now has nearby tarp, which covers the tables and material when it is not in use. The two tables primarily serve as a work station for wrapping and enveloping reference material. Building leaks are scary events, especially in a library, but with previous training and an understanding of disaster procedures, the staff was able to minimize the extent of damage.

This blog post was written by Indiana State Library Federal Documents Coordinator Brent Abercrombie. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”