Indiana Young Readers Center grand opening

The Indiana Young Readers Center at the Indiana State Library was officially opened on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 at an event featuring special guest speakers and an open house for attendees.  The evening began with State Librarian Jacob Speer welcoming guests and introducing the speakers. Dr. Robert Barcus spoke on behalf of the Indiana State Library Foundation, a large contributor of funding for the center. Executive Director of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission Perry Hammock spoke about the many Bicentennial Legacy projects across the state, including the Indiana Young Readers Center. Karen Jaffe, head of the Library of Congress Young Readers Center, read aloud a letter of congratulations from Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress. Indiana author April Pulley Sayre performed the “Indiana Chant,” which she penned in honor of the state’s 200th birthday and is featured in the Indiana Young Readers Center. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz concluded the speaking ceremony by sharing her support and enthusiasm for libraries and the promotion of literacy to our state’s youth.

Superintendent Ritz and Dr. Barcus then officially opened the Indiana Young Readers Center following a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Guests enjoyed an open house with refreshments and music by harpist Abigail Acosta. Children got their pictures taken with Garfield and Clifford characters and received gift bags that included a free book, bookmarks and more.


The Indiana State Library is the first state library to open such a center for youth. The Indiana Young Readers Center houses a collection of print and Braille books by Indiana authors and illustrators. The newly installed exhibits include interactive activities for visitors to learn more about Indiana authors, genealogy, Indiana history and more!

November is International Jewish Genealogy Month

The International Jewish Genealogy month is celebrated during the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. For 2016, the civil dates are Nov. 1 to Nov. 30, 2016. At the Indiana State Library we have many resources to help you start or further your Jewish genealogy research.

“Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy” (G 929.102 J59a) is a comprehensive book that’s great for both beginners and more intermediate researchers. The book covers not only how to get started, but it also contains research topics such as Holocaust records, Jewish naming patterns, the history of surnames and variant place names. The guide also includes different resources, both within the U.S. and internationally, appendixes containing charts and mini how to guides and maps.


“Sourcebook for Jewish Genealogies and Family Histories” (929.2 102 J59z) is a bibliography of family sources sorted by surname. It also lists whether the information can be found in an institution or general work. Additionally, it cross-references variant spellings due to pronunciation.


“A Field Guide to Visiting a Jewish Cemetery” (G 929.102 J59s) is a great resource for someone interested in Jewish cemeteries and deciphering their family’s graves. The guide goes into detail about the meanings behind monuments and tombstones and their decoration, where a person might be buried in the different sections of a cemetery and simple translations.


“Judaica in the Slavic Realm, Slavica in the Judaic Realm: Repositories, Collections, Projects, Publications” (G929.102 J59sLa) covers Jewish collections found in Russian and Eastern European institutions often overlooked by researchers. It could be particularly helpful to those doing research in the former Soviet empire.

These resources, along with others, can be found in the Indiana State Library online catalog.

New Large Print Books!

New large print books have been streaming in to the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library for the past two weeks. In total, about 110 new titles have been added to the collection this week. You can borrow these books either by signing up to be a patron of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library or by using your Evergreen library card.

Here is just a sample of the new books we have received this week:


The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (Miss Marple, #1)

The murder of Colonel Protheroe — shot through the head — is a shock to everyone in St. Mary Mead, though hardly an unpleasant one. Now even the vicar, who had declared that killing the detested Protheroe would be “doing the world at large a favor,” is a suspect. But, the picturesque English village of St. Mary Mead is overpopulated with suspects and Miss Marple, in her first appearance, is on the case.


Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce, #8)

In spite of being ejected from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Canada, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is excited to be sailing home to England. She is greeted on the docks with unfortunate news; her father has fallen ill and is hospitalized. Looking for something to do, Flavia is eager to run an errand, delivering a message from the vicar’s wife to a reclusive wood-carver. Flavia stumbles upon the poor man’s body hanging upside down on the back of his bedroom door. The only living creature in the house is a feline that shows little interest in the disturbing scene.


American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin

On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, a sophomore in college and heiress to the Hearst family fortune, was kidnapped by a ragtag group of self-styled revolutionaries calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army. The already sensational story took the first of many incredible twists on April 3, when the group released a tape of Patty saying she had joined the SLA and had adopted the nom de guerre “Tania.”

The saga of Patty Hearst highlighted a decade in which America seemed to be suffering a collective nervous breakdown. Based on more than a hundred interviews and thousands of previously secret documents, “American Heiress” thrillingly recounts the craziness of the times (there were an average of 1,500 terrorist bombings a year in the early 1970s). Toobin portrays the lunacy of the half-baked radicals of the SLA and the toxic mix of sex, politics and violence that swept up Patty Hearst and re-creates her melodramatic trial. “American Heiress” examines the life of a young woman who suffered an unimaginable trauma and then made the stunning decision to join her captors’ crusade. Or did she?


Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O’Reilly

World War II is nearly over in Europe, but is escalating in the Pacific where American soldiers face an opponent who will go to any length to avoid defeat. The Japanese army follows the samurai code of Bushido, stipulating that surrender is a form of dishonor. Emperor Hirnhito refuses to surrender. In Los Alamos, New Mexico, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and his team of scientists are preparing to test the deadliest weapon known to mankind. In Washington, D.C., FDR dies in office and Harry Truman now faces the most important political decision in history: whether or not to use that weapon.

Geek culture in libraries

Interested in hearing about the latest trends in geek culture and how they pertain to your library? If so, join Alex Sarkissian (Morrisson-Reeves Public Library) and Jocelyn Lewis (Indiana State Library) at the Indiana Library Federation’s annual conference.  They will be presenting “Geekspotting 1.0” on Wednesday, November 9 at 3pm.  Topics will include Pokemon Go, trends in tabletop gaming and a discussion of the new Star Wars canon.  They will also check-in on popular superhero film franchises and make graphic novel recommendations.


Photo By Tomi Tapio K from Helsinki, Finland (In the dice box) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

To register for ILF16, visit:

If you can’t make it to the conference but want to know more about how libraries can promote and nurture geek culture, visit Cosplay, Comics and Geek Culture in Libraries at

The United States Presidents: Love them or hate them, we’re the ones who put them there.

On Tuesday November 8th, 2016 we have some serious choices to make when it comes to our government leaders, including the president.   This choice has been the privilege of the citizens of the United States since our county began and it is a serious one. Each president becomes a part of American history as shown in the books American Heritage Illustrated History of the Presidents: more than two centuries of American Leadership by Michael Beschloss, Our Assassinated Presidents: the true medical stories by Stewart M. Brooks, Power Play: the Bush Presidency and the Constitution by James P. Pfiffner,  and The President’s Position: Debating the issues – Presidents Reagan Through Clinton 1981 by Lane Crothers and Nancy S. Lind, which is part of a series of books on our presidents.

We have a variety of other books in our collection that may be helpful in understanding the election process. There are books on choosing our presidential nominees, such as In Pursuit of the White House 2000: How we choose our presidential nominees, Edited by William G. Mayer. There are also books on presidential campaigns, See how they ran: the Changing Role of the Presidential Candidate, by Gil Troy; Packaging the Presidency: a history and criticism of presidential campaign advertising, by Kathleen Hall Jamieson; and The past and future of presidential debates, edited by Austin Ranney.  Knowing how the system works can be the first step in making the voting process less stressful.

If you would like to know more about the election process, and individual candidates visit the Indiana Election Division website.

As we approach the upcoming election, remember to use due diligence in researching your candidate; find out where they stand on the issues, and Get out and Vote!

By Dana Bohr, Librarian – Reference & Government Services Division


A Brief History of the United States passport

Pictured is an example of an early U.S. passport, found in the Hasselman-Blood family papers (MSS L385). The first United States passports were issued during the American Revolution. Early American passports were modeled after the French passports at the time and looked much like this example from 1873. This style was used from 1789 until 1900. This passport is slightly larger than 11 x 17 inches. On the left side, it gives a physical description of the bearer including age, height, and facial features. There is a passport number, but no explicit expiration date given. This particular passport was issued to Watson J. Hasselman of Indianapolis. This passport also boasts a large State Department watermark. 

Although the State Department issued passports beginning in 1789, states and cities were also able to issue passports to citizens until 1856. Passports not issued by the State Department, however, were not often recognized by other nations. During this period, the United States did not require a passport to enter or exit the country, but that changed at the start of U.S. involvement in World War II. Passports were not standardized until after World War I. The booklet layout that people recognize today was introduced in 1926. 

Averbach, Scott, “The History of the US Passport,” Passport Info Guide, September 13, 2014, Accessed October 12, 2016,

Woodward, Richard B., “Book Review: The Passport in America,” The New York Times, September 22, 2010, Accessed October 12, 2016,



Indiana Young Readers Center greeting team

Pictured: Stephanie Smith (Circulation), Monique Howell (Indiana), Marcia Caudell (Reference), Jocelyn Lewis (Catalog), Stephanie Asberry (Genealogy), Bethany Fiechter (Rare Books & Manuscripts)

From left to right: Stephanie Smith (Circulation), Monique Howell (Indiana), Marcia Caudell (Reference), Jocelyn Lewis (Catalog), Stephanie Asberry (Genealogy), Bethany Fiechter (Rare Books & Manuscripts)

Pictured are some of the Indiana State Library supervisors ready to welcome guests at the Indiana Young Readers Center grand opening. You know there is a library event when all the supervisors come into work wearing black.

Interview with Vicki Builta, Director of South Whitley Cleveland Township Public Library

vicki-builtaPaula Newcom, Northeast Regional Coordinator, recently visited with the new Director of the South Whitley Cleveland Township Public Library, Vicki Builta. She has worked as a school librarian for several years. In addition she has served on the Young Hoosier Book Award Picture Book Committee (2011-2013) and served as Co-Chair of YHBA from 2014-2016.

PN: Are you from the area?  If not, where are you from originally?

VB: No, I am not from the area. Until recently, I lived in Anderson, Indiana and attended Butler and Ball State Universities. I worked for the Anderson Community Schools as a school librarian for 33 years before retiring in June, 2011. I worked as Director at Daleville Community Library from August 2011 until April 2015. Then I worked in Adult Services at Tipton Public Library from April 2015 until October 2015, and became the Director at SWCPL as of November 2, 2015.

PN: What inspired you to work in libraries?

VB: Reading has always been a passion. Being able to share that passion with other literature lovers makes working in libraries an ideal job.

PN: What is your favorite thing about working for your library?

VB: I enjoy working with a great staff that strives to provide an outstanding variety of opportunities for the South Whitley community. We have a wonderful collection of materials and host amazing programs for all ages. The South Whitley Community Public Library is a local gathering place and a vital part of the area’s educational and cultural environment.

PN: What is your favorite book?

VB: I have many. Here are a few! Favorite Classic – Jane Eyre, To Kill a Mockingbird, Uncle Tom’s Cabin Favorite Juvenile Fiction – Tuck Everlasting, Echo, The Poet’s Dog Favorite YA Fiction (for right now!) – Salt to the Sea, Code Name Verity Favorite Adult Nonfiction (again, for now) – Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, H is for Hawk, The Wright Brothers, Shakespeare Saved my Life, Best. State. Ever: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland Favorite Adult Fiction (just a few…..) – A Little Life, All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, The Nest, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, Fates and Furies, Best Boy, The Marriage of Opposites, Our Souls at Night, The Martian, A Great Reckoning

PN: If you could have dinner with any three famous people in recorded history, who would they be and why?

VB: 1. Amelia Earhart – I’d love to hear her discuss her adventures and her experiences as a woman working in a field that was dominated by men. 2. Steve Jobs – I’ve read so much about him, I’d be interested to listen to him discuss his visions for technology and the future of man’s changing relationships with it. 3. Sigmund Freud – I have always been interested in psychology and what makes humans do what they do, act as they act and say what they say. It would be fascinating to explore his work with him.

PN: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

VB 1. Read!  2. Puzzles – sudoku, crossword, jigsaw, cryptograms, all sorts of word puzzles 3. Crafts  4. Travel

This blog post by Paula Newcom, Professional Development Librarian. For more information, contact the Professional Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or email

Johnny Gruelle and Raggedy Ann

Did you know that the Indiana State Library has a collection of sheet music? We have a varied and eclectic library of scores and sheet music in our Indiana pamphlet collection.  A recent visit to James Whitcomb Riley’s Lockerbie Street home reminded me that Raggedy Ann was the brainchild of Riley’s neighbor, Johnny Gruelle, an artist who lived in Indiana during most of his childhood and early adulthood.  The red-haired doll’s name, Raggedy Ann, may have been based on the poem, “The Raggedy Man” by James Whitcomb Riley.


I found this book of songs in our Indiana pamphlet collection. Raggedy Ann’s Joyful Songs (ISLH 780.8 Gru 1) is a collaboration of Gruelle’s artwork and lyrics and music by Charles Miller, a music composer and publisher.  This is one of several collaborations between Gruelle and Miller, and the pair often worked with Will Wooden, Miller’s business partner. There were several songbooks of this type published during the 1930’s. Raggedy Ann’s Joyful Songs includes sheet music paired with cheerful pictures of Raggedy Ann and her friends.


Although Johnny Gruelle was born in Arcola, Illinois in 1880, his parents moved to Gainesville, Florida shortly after his birth. When he was two or three years old, the family moved to Indianapolis, settling a few short blocks away from Lockerbie Street, where Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley lived.  Gruelle’s father was painter, Richard Buckner (R.B.) Gruelle.  R.B. Gruelle was a well-known painter in the “Hoosier Group” of painters of the late 19th and early 20th Century.  James Whitcomb Riley was a frequent visitor to the Gruelle home, along with a host of other contemporary artists and writers.


In 1901, Johnny married Myrtle Swann, an Indianapolis woman, whose family had lived near Johnny’s family in the Lockerbie neighborhood.   They had a daughter, Marcella, who was born in 1902 and the family moved to the Irvington area on the East side of Indianapolis.  Shortly after the Indianapolis Star newspaper was established, Johnny Gruelle was chosen as the first illustrator for the newspaper.

The tales of the origin of the character Raggedy Ann are unknown and varied, according to Gurelle biographer Patricia Hall in her book, Johnny Gruelle Creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy (Ind. 927 G886h, 1993).  Johnny Gruelle’s wife, Myrtle, told several different versions of Johnny getting ideas for stories about a cloth doll and her friends from watching daughter Marcella play with dolls.  Marcella died in 1915 after an extended illness.  Family stories tell of grief-stricken Johnny keeping only one memento of Marcella in his studio:  a cloth doll with scraggly hair.  Although he had submitted a patent for Raggedy Ann prior to Marcella’s death, Myrtle Gruelle claims that Johnny got ideas for Raggedy Ann’s adventures from his life with Marcella and her brother, Worth.  Whatever the truth of her origins, Raggedy Ann made Johnny Gruelle a world-famous artist with Indiana connections.

This blog post was written by Leigh Anne Johnson, Indiana Division Newspaper Librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana Division at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at


Remember your roots and celebrate Family History Month by joining us for the 2016 Indiana Genealogy and Local History Fair at the Indiana State Library!
The Indiana State Library will host the annual Indiana Genealogy and Local History Fair on Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free and open to the general public. This year’s theme is “200 Years of My Indiana Home,” examining the lives and times of Hoosiers throughout the years and exploring the homes and neighborhoods in which they lived. Attendees will learn how to incorporate local history, architecture, house history, and maps and other land record resources into their family research. The following fabulous door prizes will be given away:

1 annual World Explorer individual memberships to
1 annual subscription
1 annual subscription
1 annual subscription
1 AncestryDNA kit
and more!

Lunch is on your own. Click here to receive your $5.00 parking voucher for the Fair.
For more information, see our Events page.

genealogy-fairThis blog post was written by Stephanie Asberry, Genealogy Collection Supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Genealogy Division at (317)232-3689 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at