Celebrate Pride Month with books with Indiana connections for young people

Pride Month has been celebrated in the United States every June since the 1970s. This special month commemorates the Stonewall riots of 1969 and demonstrates how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans have strengthened the country. Celebrations oftentimes include parades, workshops, picnics, parties, concerts and memorials for members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. Celebrate by learning more about this commemoration through this guide put together by the Library of Congress.

The Indiana Young Readers Center has assembled this list of books with Indiana connections so that people of all ages can engage with stories about people from the LGBTQ community.

“All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages” edited by Saundra Mitchell
Edited by Indiana native Saundra Mitchell, this is a collection of historical fiction for teens. Seventeen young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse tales. From a retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain to forbidden love in a 16th century Spanish convent to an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, “All Out” tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.

“Out Now: Queer We Go Again!” edited by Saundra Mitchell
A follow-up to the critically acclaimed “All Out” anthology, “Out Now” features 17 short stories from amazing queer YA authors: Vampires crash a prom; aliens run from the government; a president’s daughter comes into her own; a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a cynical social media influencer; and a selkie and the sea call out to a lost soul. From teapots and barbershops to skateboards and VW vans to “Street Fighter” and Ares’s sword, “Out Now” has a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the page! This collection is also edited by Indiana author, Saundra Mitchell.

 

“You Should See Me in a Crown” by Leah Johnson
Liz Lighty has always believed that she’s too Black, too poor and too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed Midwestern town. But it’s okay – she has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever – one that revolves around financial aid that unexpectedly falls through. Liz is devastated until she remembers that her school offers a scholarship for the prom king and queen. Though author Leah Johnson currently lives in Brooklyn, New York she was born and raised in Indianapolis and is a tried and true lifelong Hoosier.

 

“Keesha’s House” by Helen Frost
Keesha has found a safe place to live, and other kids gravitate to her house when they just can’t make it on their own. They are Stephie – pregnant and trying to make the right decisions for herself and those she cares about; Jason – Stephie’s boyfriend, torn between his responsibility to Stephie and the promise of a college basketball career; Dontay – in foster care while his parents are in prison; Carmen – arrested on a DUI charge, waiting in a juvenile detention center for a judge to hear her case; Harris – disowned by his father after disclosing that he’s gay; and Katie – angry at her mother’s loyalty to an abusive stepfather. Helen Frost lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana and has published dozens of books for young people. In this novel, Frost weaves together the stories of seven teenagers as they courageously struggle to hold their lives together.

“Will Grayson, Will Grayson” by John Green and David Levithan
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, Will Grayson crosses paths with… Will Grayson. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high school stage. Told in alternating voices from two YA superstars, this collaborative novel features a double helping of the heart and humor that have won them both legions of fans. John Green lives in Indianapolis.

 

“Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom” by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
Lucas and Tessa’s friendship is the stuff of legend in their small Indiana town. So, it’s no surprise when Lucas finally realizes his feelings for Tessa are more than friendship and he asks her to prom. What no one expected, especially Lucas, was for Tessa to come out as a lesbian instead of accepting his heartfelt invitation. Humiliated and confused, Lucas also feels betrayed that his best friend kept such an important secret from him. What’s worse is Tessa’s decision to wear a tastefully tailored tuxedo to escort her female crush, sparking a firestorm of controversy. Lucas must decide if he should stand on the sidelines or if he should stand by his friend to make sure that Tessa Masterson will go to prom.

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

Bicycle catalogs from the Indiana State Library’s Trade Catalog Collection

Spring has arrived! With warmer temperatures and longer days, many Hoosiers will be flocking to various retailers to purchase bicycles so they can enjoy time outdoors. Modern bicycles are usually designed and manufactured in faraway places, but in the late 19th and early 20th centuries many bicycle companies operated here in Indiana.

The Indiana State Library has several lavishly illustrated catalogs from many of these companies as part of our Trade Catalog Collection. The collection includes catalogs from H.T. Conde Implement Co., Marble Cycle Mfg., Damascus, Acme, Central Cycle Manufacturing Co., Swan, Indiana Bicycle Company, Ariel and the Progress Manufacturing Company.

The Indiana State Library’s Trade Catalog Collection is a large collection of trade and advertising catalogs and literature – ranging from the 1880s to present – from various Indiana businesses and companies. The catalogs include topics such as bicycles, automobiles, furniture, decorative arts, glass and agricultural equipment.

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.”

The No-Tobacco Journal

One might have the impression that smoking was without objection in the 1920s and 1930s. Movies showed stars smoking constantly, advertisements in newspapers had “doctors” recommending brands of cigarettes. It seems you could smoke just about anywhere. However, the No-Tobacco League of America was active throughout this time, pushing back against the smoking habit through a lens of health and moral objection.

Indiana even had a short-lived era of cigarette prohibition. From 1905-1909 it was unlawful to sell, buy or possess cigarettes. Senate Bill 51 was approved on Feb. 28, 1905. The law reads in part, “It shall be unlawful for any person … to manufacture, sell, exchange, barter, dispose of or give away … cigarettes” or any papers intended to be used to roll tobacco.

The law was in place until 1909, when it was amended. The new law narrowed the prohibition of cigarette sales and use to just minors. Currently, Indiana and federal law have the age set at 21.

Luther H. Higley began publishing the No-Tobacco Journal in Butler, Indiana in January 1918 for the No-Tobacco League of America. Higley was the owner and operator of the Butler Record, a local newspaper. He had an established career as a printer and publisher. Higley also had an affiliation with the Methodist Church in Butler and published the Epworth League Quarterly which had national circulation.

Highlights from the No-Tobacco Journal include cartoons, snarky digs at smokers, religious and moral appeals and more than a few photos to Charles Lindberg. The No-Tobacco League appealed to churches, Sunday school groups and church gatherings; much like the Temperance Movement it was as much a moral appeal as for one’s health; if not more moral than health.

The No-Tobacco League of America also published the Prohibition Defender and No-Tobacco Journal in 1931. It was designed especially for Sunday schools. The first issue had Charles Lindbergh on the cover saying, “I do not drink.” In 1934 the No-Tobacco League began publishing the Clean Life Educator, opposing drink and smoke. Again, Charles Lindbergh graced the cover of the third issue, “A young American at his best” it says under his photo.

The publication eventually moved from Higley’s publishing house in Butler to the Free Methodist Publishing House at Winona Lake. Winona Lake was the resort home to many religious revivals and retreats.

World No Tobacco Day was created in 1987 by the Member States of the World Health Organization to draw attention to preventable disease and death caused by smoking. World No Tobacco Day is May 31.

More information on Indiana’s tobacco cessation programs can be found here.

This post was written by Monique Howell, Indiana Collection supervisor.

Visit us virtually! Virtual field trip now available

This spring and summer, the Indiana Young Readers Center at the Indiana State Library is hoping to help fourth-grade teachers in Indiana with last-minute plans. Field trips to the library have been cancelled due to the current health crisis, so bringing the library to life in classrooms is a way to say “thank you” to teachers. The Virtual Field Trip is now available. 

The Indiana State Library Virtual Field Trip provides an introduction to the agency and offers video tours of public and behind-the-scenes spaces. These videos were made with fourth-graders in mind, but many grades may be interested. A recorded lesson on using a digital map highlights several fourth-grade Indiana social studies standards. There are pages to learn about lots of different areas in the Indiana State Library and links to digital resources.

Also included as part of the field trip are the library’s Sammy the Interviewing Toucan interviews, along with virtual Indiana trivia. Sammy, the Indiana State Library’s Hoosier Toucan, has been busy interviewing Indiana authors throughout the pandemic. Listening to an author’s story is a great way to inspire young writers. Extend the trivia activity by exploring the links to digital resources that the Indiana State Library offers.

We’d love to hear your feedback after using the Virtual Field Trip in the classroom. Please take a couple minutes to click through this online survey.

The post was written by Indiana Young Readers Center librarian Suzanne Walker and Indiana Young Readers Center program coordinator Tara Stewart.

New EBSCO eBooks added to INSPIRE

This year, the Indiana State Library has added over 75,000 new EBSCO eBooks to INSPIRE. The eBooks are divided into the following collections: K-8, High School and Public Library. These are in addition to the eBooks previously offered in INSPIRE.

You can access these collections by visiting the Databases A-Z list in INSPIRE. Scroll down to the E section and you will find a link to each of the eBook collections. Once you access the eBook collection that you’re interested in, there are three ways to find eBooks you are looking for: use the search bar at the top of the page; search by category on the left side of the page; or click on the cover of a book included in the Highlights or Featured eBooks sections located in the middle of the page.

EBSCO recently launched a free app for mobile devices that allows you to search for and download the eBooks available in INSPIRE. The EBSCO app can also be used to search for articles related to your topic of interest. Find the EBSCO app in the App Store for Apple devices or Google Play for Android devices. For more info about the EBSCO app, click here.

Once you set up an EBSCOhost account – you will be prompted to do this when you download a book for the first time – and have the EBSCO app installed, you can download books to your mobile device. Also, make sure you have downloaded Adobe Digital Editions to your device so that you can read the eBooks once you have downloaded the book you want. We have an unlimited use license for these book collections which means you will never have to wait for or put a book on hold. For example, 100 or more people could check out the same book at the same time! This is a true gift for schools and public libraries.

EBSCO Connect provides access to free promotional materials for librarians to use when promoting these new eBook collections. You can find these promotional materials listed under the Tools & Resources tab on the landing page of EBSCO Connect. Promotional materials provided for EBSCO eBooks include things like a web banner or logo to use on your library website, posters and handouts. Librarians can also access eBook training documentation by going to the “Learn More” button under the eBook Support Information section located in the bottom left corner of each collection’s search page.

In addition, a training video will soon be available on the Indiana State Library’s Archived Webinar page. To learn more about training opportunities related to EBSCO eBooks, please contact Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office, Indiana State Library.

Please note that during the week of May 5-12, 2021, EBSCO will be upgrading key pieces of the EBSCO eBook system. This will cause some service disruption. During this timeframe, users will still be able to read eBooks online, download chapters and read previously downloaded eBooks. However, users will not be able to download full eBooks to read offline from EBSCOhost, EBSCO Discovery Service and New Discovery Service. Additionally, hold ready alerts will not be sent to end users during the downtime.

This blog post was written by Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library.

Duplication on Demand transition complete!

In March, the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library completed the transition of its service model from sending patrons one book on one cartridge to Duplication on Demand, which sends patrons up to ten books per cartridge based on their requests and subject preferences. The same player and cartridge are used as before. Each cartridge includes a mailing card that lists its contents. Patrons should not attempt to return this card with the cartridge, but instead discard it or keep it for their records. There is an address sticker on each cartridge that ensures its return to the library.

There are many benefits to this change for both staff and patrons. Staff can duplicate up to 20 cartridges at a time. The number of physical items circulating through the library has decreased, allowing mail to be processed more efficiently. Patrons now have access to newly-published books more quickly, and there are no wait lists for popular titles. Cartridges can be easily customized for patrons wanting a series of books, or several books by the same author. Thousands of older titles that previously had to be ordered from offsite are now available immediately. All the Indiana Voices titles are also available through Duplication on Demand.

To access the titles on DoD cartridges patrons can either use the player’s bookshelf mode or the sequential play feature. Sequential play will play books in the order they have been loaded on the cartridge, while bookshelf mode lets the patron pick what book they want to listen to.

To use the sequential play feature, patrons put the cartridge in and listen to the first book as usual. At the end of the book, closing announcements will play; when they are finished a voice will say “end of book, press play/stop to go to the next book”. Patrons press the play/stop button and the next book on the cartridge will begin playing. They can repeat this step until all the books have played

To use bookshelf mode, patrons turn the player on and put the cartridge in. Next, they hold down the green “play/stop” button for ten seconds, or until the player beeps and says, “bookshelf mode.” Once in bookshelf mode, they use the fast forward and rewind buttons to scroll through the books or magazines recorded on the cartridge. After reaching the desired title, they press the green play/stop button again and it will start to play.

Any patron having any difficulties with Duplication on Demand should contact the Talking Book and Braille Library via email or at 1-800-622-4970.

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

Indiana Legacy: An important tool for finding people of the past

Indiana Legacy allows everyone to search, from the comfort of their own home, for information on individuals going back to the early 1800s. One can research all kinds of pertinent information: birth, marriage, divorce and death.

Indiana Legacy combines existing Indiana State Library databases with VINE, the Vital INformation Exchange. VINE allows libraries to contribute and share records that they possess. Each record displayed shows the record type with an ID number, the name of the person, date, place and source of the record. Finding information this way saves a great deal of time and effort because you are looking at a transcript of the original document with the added benefit of knowing where an exact copy can be obtained.

And if you have difficulties or see a mistake that you can correct, please do so by using the Chat with a Librarian option located on the main Indiana Legacy page. All contributions are suggestions are welcome.

This post was written by Joan Gray, Indiana State Library.

So, what about those genetic DNA tests you can take nowadays?

Do you know who your ancestors are? Do you know which countries they came from? Did you know that taking a DNA test will help you discover your own ethnicity estimates?

I’d like to briefly highlight five major DNA testing companies in order to acquaint you with what each company has to offer. There are many more DNA testing companies available, but this article will compare five major companies. But first, let’s briefly talk about the basics of DNA. I’m not a science person, so this will definitely be a very basic explanation. I went into a DNA test without any knowledge of DNA except that I knew it as the carrier of genetic information and that our DNA is arranged into chromosomes, grouped into 23 pairs. I could also recognize the double helix images of DNA structure.

It’s important to keep in mind that siblings in a family do not inherit the exact same DNA from their parents as another sibling inherits. When I first had my DNA tested it was after my sister had hers tested. Remember now, I told you I’m not a science person, so I assumed that my ethnicity estimates from my DNA would be the same as my sister’s ethnicity estimates. We have the same mother and father, so I thought we would have the same ethnicity estimates. Wrong! I’ve been hooked and fascinated with DNA genetics ever since.

I later learned that everyone gets half of their DNA from their mother and half from their father. Which DNA is inherited from each parent is totally random. Inherited DNA is reduced each generation, as you can see by a table from 23andMe, “Average Percent DNA Shared Between Relatives,” that summarizes both the average percent DNA shared for different types of relationships, and the expected range of percent DNA shared. For example, we inherit 50% DNA from each parent, about 25% DNA from each grandparent, about 12.5% DNA from each great-grandparent, and so on.

Ancestry has a great article on understanding inheritance:

“By understanding how DNA is inherited, you can see how and why you have some DNA segments that match your relatives, and others that do not, why you may or may not have inherited DNA segments associated with a certain ethnicity, and why getting multiple people in your family tested can help you discover more of your family’s genetic tree.”

Let’s talk ethnicity estimates. To date, no ethnicity gene has been found in the human genome. Your own ethnicity estimate is just that, an estimate. It is based upon comparing your DNA with known members of different ethnicities in the testing company database. By this comparison they will estimate how closely your DNA matches with each ethnic group. All of the testing companies I’m comparing will give you ethnicity estimates. The picture below is a screenshot of my own ethnicity estimate from Ancestry. I took my DNA test from Ancestry about eight years ago. The screenshot shows that my DNA is about 70% from Ireland. On the right side of the screenshot and directly underneath Ireland, there are particular regions and towns of Ireland where they estimate my ancestors lived. Then it estimates that I have 20% DNA from Scotland, 8% DNA from England and Northwestern Europe and about 2% Germanic Europe.

My sister and I had researched our genealogy long before we each took a DNA test. Plus, with family history and stories passed down, we knew we had strong ties back to Ireland. With the maiden name of McNamara, that’s a given. We also have these very Irish surnames on our family tree: Murphy, Farrell, McKeown, Kelly, MacMeehan, Flannery and Murray. We also have our great, great, great grandfather Patrick MacDonald born in Glencoe, Argyll, Scotland around 1790. As a young man he went to Ireland and married Susan Murray. They lived and raised their family in County Monaghan, Ireland before emigrating to Ontario, Canada. You’ll note that County Monaghan is one of the areas mentioned in my ethnicity estimate above.

Below is a screenshot from Ancestry that shows a comparison of the ethnicity estimates for me and my sister. There are some very real differences here. She has 8% DNA from Germanic Europe, where I only have 2% in my DNA. It’s interesting to note that we also have many German names in our tree, including Metz, Demer, Spitzmesser and Burkhardt. She seems to have inherited more of the German DNA and about twice as much English and Northwestern European DNA in our family than I have inherited.

Along with ethnicity estimates, all of the companies I will be comparing also name relatives that are genetic DNA matches. My matches include thousands of people on Ancestry that share some of my DNA, thus we are related to one another. This was mind boggling to me! They are listed from closest relation – my sister – to matches that share less than 1% DNA with me. Unfortunately, I have not had much time to explore these matches other than the cousins I already know about. Interestingly though, a distant cousin, unbeknownst to us, contacted my sister a few years ago and they’ve been emailing ever since. This distant cousin lives in Ontario, Canada and is related to our Scottish MacDonald clan that emigrated there in the 1800’s. She has been able to fill us in on a lot of that family history that we had not known before, along with sharing some photographs too. It’s up to each individual as to how much you want to pursue the DNA matches you find out about.

According to Genetics Digest, there are three essential tips you must know before buying a DNA Test.

  1. Buy from a company that protects your data.
  2. Find a test that reveals when and where your ancestors appeared.
  3. Follow the science and genetic experts.

I would like to add that it’s important to look over each company’s website and learn about what they offer. Read the FAQ’s and comments from users. Also, decide what is important to you and what you hope to learn by having your DNA tested. The price of the kits range from $79 -$99, but keep an eye on their websites around different holiday times for sales on the kits.

One more thing to consider before taking a DNA genetic test is that there might be information disclosed to you that you weren’t expecting: adoptions, illegitimacies, name changes and non-paternal events, where parentage may be unexpected. It is suggested to be emotionally prepared for whatever the results of the testing shows.

I have prepared a chart that compares these five different DNA testing companies: MyHeritage, Ancestry, Living DNA, Family Tree DNA and 23andMe. The comparison chart covers such criteria as the number of geographic regions each test company covers, health and well being upgrade availability, personal traits upgrade availability, exploration of ancient ancestry, advanced DNA testing availability, ability to upload DNA test results to other company sites, ancestry timeline, tracking possible migration routes, cost and other features.

Additionally, here is just a sampling of some of the DNA related books we have in our Genealogy Collection. Come visit us sometime and take a look at them. As of this writing in April of 2021, we are open, but require patrons to make an appointment first. You can make an appointment by calling us at 317-232-3689 or through our Ask-a-Librarian service.

Also, if you are interested in learning more about this fascinating subject, we invite you to attend our “Virtual DNA Workshop” scheduled to take place in May of 2021.

The Indiana State Library Genealogy Division and the Central Indiana DNA Interest Group are partnering to present a “Virtual DNA Workshop” from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 8, 2021. This is a free event, but registration is limited to the first 200 people. It will take place via Zoom.

The workshop will focus on using various DNA tools to understand how people are connected to their DNA matches. Speakers from CIDIG will cover topics on understanding genetic genealogy; reviewing DNA results; comparing shared matches; building family trees based upon DNA matches; and using various DNA tools to analyze matches. Using the Zoom chat feature, attendees will be able to submit questions during the sessions and during the panel discussion at the end of the program. You will find a full description of the three sessions at the registration link below.

If you miss this May workshop, don’t despair. The State Library and CIDIG will be partnering again in the Fall of 2021 to present another DNA Workshop.

You can register for this free event here.

Disclaimer: The author of this blog and the Indiana State Library in no way endorse any of the DNA testing companies referred to in this blog. The existence of the provided links do no imply endorsement of the services or products of these companies.

Bibliography:
23andME
Ancestry DNA
Central Indiana DNA Interest Group
Family Search Wiki. DNA Basics
Family Tree DNA
International Society of Genetic Genealogy; Genetics Glossary
International Society of Genetic Genealogy; Wiki, Autosomal DNA statistics 
Living DNA
My Heritage DNA

This blog post was submitted by Genealogy Division librarian Alice Winslow. For more information, contact the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3689 or submit an Ask-a-Librarian request.

Prayer in public meetings

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

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discovering census history at the Indiana State Library

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

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

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

Here is what I discovered:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.