2018 Genealogy and Local History Fair recap

On Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, the Indiana State Library was abuzz with genealogists and representatives from historical organizations, genealogical societies and libraries, who were all in attendance for the 2018 edition of the Genealogy and Local History Fair. The theme this year was “Digging Up the Dead,” as we learned how to examine, decipher, and interpret death records, death research and other interesting facets of mortality in history.

Lisa Alzo during one of her three presentations.

Internationally-known speaker Lisa Alzo presented “Murder, Mayhem and Town Tragedy,” “Cause of Death: Using Coroner’s Records for Genealogy” and “Diseases, Disasters & Distress: Bad for Your Ancestors, Good for Genealogy.” Sarah Halter, executive director of the Indiana Medical History Museum, presented “What Killed Your Ancestors?,” which examined 19th century medicine, the accuracy of information and names of certain diseases and what they mean.

Sarah Halter presenting “What killed your ancestors?”

In between sessions, attendees were able to mingle with fellow genealogists, vendors and exhibitors, as well as explore the beautiful Indiana State Library building and view the library’s most recently-installed exhibits. “The Practice of Medicine” and “The Business of Death” are both currently on display in the first floor Exhibit Hall and in the second floor Great Hall of the state library. In addition to items from the library’s collections, “The Practice of Medicine” showcases items on loan from the Indiana Medical History Museum. If you happened to have missed the Genealogy and Local History Fair this year, there is still time to catch these great exhibits, which will be on display through the end of January 2019.

Attendees browsing vendors in the Great Hall.

We hope to see you at the next Genealogy and Local History Fair on Oct. 24, 2020, as we focus on “The Women in Your Family Tree,” while commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and examining the sometimes hard-to-research half of your family tree.

This blog post was written by Stephanie Asberry, deputy director of public services, Indiana State Library.

Association for Rural and Small Libraries Annual Conference recap

“You don’t have to be big to think big.”

“Create bolder goals.”

“Do most things well instead of all things mediocre.”

“Size is relative, not potential.”

“Focus on the things to be grateful for.”

“Small is not the same as less; look at what we do have!”

These quotes are a few of my favorites that I heard at the Association for Rural and Small Libraries Annual Conference, themed “Linking Libraries in the Lincoln,” that took place in Springfield, Illinois on Sept. 12-15, 2018. I have to say, this was one of the best national library conferences I have ever attended! The mission of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries is to provide “resources and support that empower those in small and rural libraries to deliver excellent service for their communities.” It’s also “a network of persons throughout the country dedicated to the positive growth and development of libraries.”

I had heard so many great things about the ARSL group. For years on the Indiana library Listservs I would see posts from Julie Elmore praising this group and how valuable it is for small and rural libraries. I finally got to see if for myself, as I joined ARSL earlier this year. On the ARSL Listserv you could tell that people were so psyched about the conference and the chance to meet new and old friends. The excitement was palpable! There are libraries out there that only have one staff person, which is why this group is so important. It can be very lonely working by yourself, but having the support and guidance of this group is priceless.

This year’s annual conference was originally capped at 500 people, but due to an overwhelming response, which saw the conference sell out in three weeks, an additional 250 attendees were accommodated! The conference committee, chaired by Elmore, director of the Oakland City Columbia Township Public Library in Oakland City, Indiana, did an amazing job finding overflow hotel space, rearranging layouts and wading through numerous wait lists.

Forty-nine of the 50 states were represented at this conference. In the picture, you see 26 librarians from Indiana alone, though many other Hoosier librarians didn’t make the picture. We had many opportunities to network with dine-arounds, trivia night and special tours of the Illinois State Library. I met some very cool librarians from states all over the country, including Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, New York, North Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. I met a lovely lady who said that the conference was a like a vacation for her because she’s the mother of seven kids!

There were so many presentations I wanted to see and despite a few being repeated, I ran out of time. The presentations were extremely practical and ran the gamut of what libraries are doing: library of things, coding, strategic planning, marketing and storytimes. Programming ideas included “Adulting 101” and an “Escape Room @ the Library.” Small and rural libraries are used to wearing many hats, so they know how to do it all and the awesome presentations reflected that fact.

Along with the presentations, we had excellent keynote speakers. President Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by historical presenter Kevin Wood, brought history to life with some of his recollections and insights. Author and Illinois native Elizabeth Berg stressed that “no place ever felt quite like home, except a library.” Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden joined us via live stream and talked about ways that the Library of Congress can truly be the library of the United States. Part of their strategic plan is to do more outreach and open up resources. Dr. Hayden said one way that libraries can take advantage of this is to live stream Library of Congress programs at their own libraries.

“Linking Libraries in the Lincoln” was a resounding success! There was such an overwhelming feeling of camaraderie among attendees who shared successes, encouraged each other and learned new things from passionate professionals. I definitely recommend attending this conference; you won’t be sorry you went. So be sure to mark your calendars for 2019. There is already a countdown clock for the next ARSL conference  on Sept. 4-7, 2019 in Burlington, Vermont. ARSL 2020 will be back in the Midwest – YEAH!

This post was written by Northeast Regional Coordinator Paula Newcom, Professional Development Office.

Valuing library support staff

Last week, on Friday, July 20, 2018, the Indiana State Library hosted a free, day-long conference for library support staff across the state called The Difference is You. I attend many conferences for my profession, but this is the one annual gathering that I won’t miss. This year’s theme, “Be Inspired” was fitting as The Difference is You is the most inspiring of all meetings I attend, which is why I’ve now participated for four years in a row. “Be Inspired” was a tribute to INSPIRE, the marvelous collection of databases that are provided, at no cost, to Indiana residents, available through this link. INSPIRE contains over 80 databases, organized by A-Z or by subject, and allows free access to information by way of articles from journals and magazines, which would otherwise require hefty fees. Additional resources include tools for operating a small business, resume help and career advice, foreign language lessons, news stories and videos, newspaper access, digital collections and much more. As Indiana citizens, we can’t take this access for granted! These resources are generally only available to university professors or students as part of tuition fees. We have open access to these resources as taxpayers. Explore INSPIRE now for more details about what you can find.

A full house.

Friday was an incredible day for teaching and learning! Sessions were filled with practical presentations that boosted our understanding about daily interactions and operations in the library. Conference presenters highlighted specific examples for problem-solving and conflict resolution. Plus, hands-on technology demonstrations and step-by-step training for online resources were offered. In my session after lunch, I overheard someone saying her brain was getting full.

Keynote speaker Lorelle R. Swader

The most inspiring part of the day was keynote speaker, Lorelle R. Swader, associate executive director of American Library Association (ALA) Offices and Member Relations, as well as associate executive director of the ALA-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA). The ALA-APA is unique in that it focuses on both professional librarians and library support staff. ALA-APA provides library workers with tools and resources for their own professional goals and promotes occupational awareness, workplace wellness and fair salaries. I believe that libraries are unique in that they attract employees who support one another, share resources and work as teams to accomplish goals. The ALA-APA goes one step further and supports employees from outside of their organizations. Their current tagline is “Libraries work because we do.”

Conference organizer Kimberly Brown-Harden

By the end of the conference, while relaxing near the well-stocked snack table, I had a chat with someone who said they had really valued the conference. I was able to turn that statement around and say to them that we value you. The conference was organized by members of the Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Committee, with assistance from state library staff. As a library worker for the past 14 years, I’m giving a special shout out to my colleague Kimberly Brown-Harden, who employs her own kind of magic to ensure this conference is a success. Thank you, Indiana State Library and IMLS, for making this conference a reality!

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

The Difference is You: Be INSPIRED!

Want to connect with your peers in a beautiful, historic library? Want the opportunity to present on a topic you care about to your peers and friends? Want to learn about technology, youth services and other topics relevant to libraries and library staff? We have an opportunity for you! Join us for our annual support staff conference, the Difference is You: Be INSPIRED! This year our theme honors and celebrates the 20th anniversary of INSPIRE. The conference will be held at the Indiana State Library on July 20, 2018 from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Our keynote speaker is Lorelle R. Swader, director of the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR).

The call for proposals is now open! Submit your program topics and ideas here.    Program proposals will be accepted until Monday, March 19, 2018. Registration officially opens Monday, March 26, 2018 at 8 a.m. Details about this year’s conference can be found here. We’re looking forward to seeing you for a day filled with networking, learning and fun!

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

Geekspotting 2.0

The annual Indiana Library Federation (ILF) conference is right around the corner which means it’s time to check-in with Alex Sarkissian of the Allen County Public Library and Jocelyn Lewis of the Indiana State Library to see what’s going on in the ever-changing world of pop culture. Join us Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at 1:15 p.m. for “Geekspotting 2.0: Building a Popular and Diverse Collection for Your Library.”

This year’s topic will focus on diversity and representation in pop culture. Diversity has been a major concept lately and the demand to include traditionally marginalized voices in comics, movies, TV and gaming has led to an explosion of material. We’ll help you sift through it all and make collection development recommendations that are sure to be a hit with your local community.

Registration for ILF 2017 is now open.

For those who can’t make it to ILF this year, we will also be offering a live webinar version of this program on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 at 10 a.m. You can register for this event here.

Both presentations are LEU-eligible!

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.”

Hoosier Women at Work Conference recap

April 1, 2017 marked another successful Hoosier Women’s History Conference at the Indiana State Library. This year’s theme was “Hoosier Women in Science, Technology and Medicine.” The attendees heard talks about Indiana native Melba Phillips, who pioneered physics theories, studied under the famous J. Robert Oppenheimer and advocated for women’s place in science research. We listened to talks about Gene Stratton Porter, author and naturalist, and learned how Hoosier women continued to be at the forefront in one of the first public ecology movements, removing phosphates from laundry detergent.

Jill Weiss of the Indiana Historical Bureau speaks about Melba Phillips

In a fascinating lunch time presentation about the ways women’s bodies are ignored by science and industry in making products designed solely for women’s use, Dr. Sharra Vostral presented “Toxic Shock Syndrome, Tampon Technology, and Absorbency Standards.”

Keynote speaker, Sharra Vostral

There were sessions on women pioneers Dr. Edna Gertrude Henry, founding director of the Indiana University (IU) School of Social Work, and Dr. Emma Culbertson, surgeon and physician. The presentations covered how they overcame gender discrimination to practice and teach in the field of medicine. Speakers also told us about the many women who broke barriers at IU that had long blocked them from pursuing careers in medicine and public health. Dr. Vivian Deno, Purdue University, talked about Dr. Kenosha Sessions, the long-serving head of the Indiana Girl’s School and her mission to use scientific methods to retrain young women and Dr. Elizabeth Nelson, from the Indiana Medical History Museum, discussed how using technology in making a patient newspaper provided a forum for self-expression and promoted patient literacy and self-confidence.

Elizabeth Nelson of the Indiana Medical History Museum

Jessica Jenkins, from Minnetrista in Muncie, Ind., gave an interesting talk on the Ball family women and their fight for improvements in improving sanitation, hygiene and medical access, while Rachel Fulk told about the discrimination that African-American women faced in 1940s Indianapolis in obtaining medical information about birth control. Nancy Brown reminded us of Jeanne White’s fight to educate others about AIDS so her son Ryan could attend school while a group of women in Kokomo were also searching for scientific information about the disease to keep their own children safe. There were talks about the 19th and 20th century and “Scientific Motherhood,” using scientific and medical advice to raise children healthfully.

Kelsey Emmons of the Indiana State University Glenn Black Laboratory

Sessions also highlighted the fight of many to enter the fields of scientific study at Purdue University and the many unrecognized women in in the field of archaeology. Dr. Alan Kaiser, University of Evansville, gave an engrossing talk on how a noted archaeologist “stole” the work of Mary Ross Ellingson and published it as his own.

Alan Kaiser, University of Evansville

To cap the day off The Indiana Women’s History Association President Jill Chambers, presented IUPUI student Annette Scherber with a $500 prize for the best student paper presented at the conference, “Clean Clothes Vs Clean Water, Hoosier Women and the Rise of Ecological Consumption.”

Women’s History Association President Jill Chambers presents Annette Scherber with a $500 prize for the best student paper

Look for the third annual Hoosier Women at Work, Women’s History Conference next spring. The topic will be Hoosier Women in the Arts!

This blog post is by Reference and Government Services Division. For more information, contact us at (317) 232-3678 or send us a question through Ask-a-Librarian.