Genealogy: More than just something that sounds like the blue guy from ‘Aladdin’

Have you ever been curious about your family’s history or heritage? If so, DNA tests are a great way to learn more about your genetic history. However, after receiving your test results, it can be difficult figuring out what to do next. There are a lot of different resources promoting family history research, but making sense of that information can be tricky and time-consuming if you aren’t aware of the right resources.

Genealogy Division, Indiana State Library

The Indiana State Library is the perfect place to begin or further your genealogy research. The Genealogy Division at the Indiana State Library is one of the largest collections of family history information in the Midwest. With more than 40,000 print items – family histories, indexes to records, how-to-books, cemetery transcriptions, family history magazines, military pensions and more – in the collection, the library is the perfect place to start or supplement your research.

If you’re interested in researching your family’s history, but don’t know where to begin, fear not! The Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library offers 30-minute individual consultation sessions with one of the reference librarians on the second Saturday morning of every month.

This blog post was written by Jordan Nussear, University of Indianapolis student.

How to find more of yourself at the Indiana State Library

Life’s Questions
Have you ever wondered where you come from? Maybe your question is less about origin and more about why you and your family are they way they are. It could be that you’re interested in history or tradition or maybe you’re seeking answers to life’s biggest question – “Who am I?” Whatever the reason might be, know that you’re headed in the right direction of discovery when you start with genealogy. DNA testing and genealogy research help you go beyond what you know from relatives or general historical documentation. Genealogy research and workshops are provided for free by the Indiana State Library. By saying “yes” to further discovery at the library, you are saying “yes” to the next individual step into your personal family history.

“What does this mean for me?”
If you’ve started to think about family heritage, you might be wondering how to begin. There are so many people, dates, locations and events to sort through, that it would be almost impossible to do it alone! That is the exact reason why ISL’s genealogy collection, with more than 40,000 print items, exists. With an extensive collection and resources to aid you in your genealogy journey, you will not have any trouble glimpsing into the history of your fellow Hoosiers. From marriage and birth records to death databases and indexes, there are many ways to begin with the basics. A “Researching Hard-to-Find Ancestors” guide is available for free. Manuscripts from the past are available to browse on the website as well. Online resources like webinars and videos are located easily under the Collections & Services, Genealogy Collections tab for your convenience.

This blog post was written by Jenna Knutson, University of Indianapolis student. 

Take a tour of the Indiana State Library

Did you know that you could take a guided tour of the beautiful Indiana State Library and Historical Building? We offer three different tours: an architectural tour, where you can learn more about the many architectural features of the building; a researcher’s tour that will take you behind the scenes to point out facets of our various collections; and a tour for family historians. This is not a “how-to-research” session; instead, this is your opportunity to have an in-depth tour of the facility’s genealogical holdings.

The library was originally established in 1825 and housed in various locations until 1934. The library was one of first six state libraries established in the nation. Originally intended to meet the needs of the General Assembly and other state offices, the volume of materials and expanded public services has made it a premier research facility. Housed in the various statehouses, by the late 1920s the collection had grown so large that materials were being stored in hallways of the capitol. In 1929, the General Assembly raised a special tax to fund construction of a separate building and construction began in 1932. The building opened in 1934 at a final construction cost of $982,119.87. The building is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Designed by the architectural firm Pierre & Wright, the Indiana limestone façade of the building is Neoclassical Revival in style, but with strong Art Deco influences. The exterior includes bas-relief panels with carvings by Leon Hermant of Chicago. The panels tell the story of the settlement and development of Indiana with different types of citizens: an explorer, soldier, pioneer, farmer, legislator, miner, builder, constructor, manufacturer, educator and student.
The interior walls are Monte Cassino sandstone, quarried from St. Meinrad in Southern Indiana, and Indiana walnut, giving the library warm colors. The stairs lead up to the Great Hall with a 42-foot barrel vaulted coffered ceiling.

The Great Hall has five stained glass windows containing 3500 pieces of glass designed by artist J. Scott Williams. The center window depicts Indiana becoming a state with images of William Henry Harrison, Anthony Wayne, a Native America and the Indiana State flag.
The other four windows depict the transmission of knowledge throughout history, oral traditions, picture writing, illuminated manuscripts and Gutenberg reading a printed page.

There are four murals in the building also by J. Scott Williams, Song of the Indian Land, Indiana Gift of Corn, Winning of the State and Building of the State
The Great Hall has elaborate Art Deco lighting with a marble floor with small brass squares representing coins of many foreign nations.

The owl, a symbol of wisdom, is at the Senate Ave. entrance to the library and Art Deco owl heads are on display throughout main rooms.
The History Reference Room and browsing rooms feature walnut veneer paneling and stenciled concrete beam ceilings with printers’ marks used as a trademark by printers and publishers.
In 1976, a $4,985,072 addition was built and in 2000 this part of the building was renovated to accommodate modern technology. The main public entrance was changed to Ohio St.
To meet the educational needs of young Hoosiers, the library added a Statehouse Education Center and an Indiana Young Readers Center as bicentennial projects.
So, plan a tour of the Indiana State Library, have your picture taken next to Garfield and maybe your tour guide will show you the normally-closed 18-foot wooden pocket doors!

Both the building and the collections of the Indiana State Library are well worth seeing. To arrange for your class, organization, department or group to tour the Indiana State Library, please call the library at 317-232-3675 or 1-866-683-0008. Tours may take place Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and must be arranged at least two weeks in advance.

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. 

Here to serve Indiana libraries – the Library Development Office

The Indiana State Library’s Library Development Office has had a couple of staffing changes this past year, which has resulted in some confusion over where to direct questions. While all of us are available to help with any question you may have, here’s an updated list of the staff in our office, who are available to serve you Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET.

Consultants
Hayley Trefun – Statewide Library Consultant – Hayley recently joined us as the new consultant specializing in E-Rate and general public library and trustee issues. If you have E-Rate forms to turn in, a long range plan that needs to be approved or a board who needs training, reach out to her at 317-232-1938.
Angela Fox – LSTA and Federal Programs Consultant – Angela is the consultant responsible for the Indiana Public Libraries Annual Report and statistics, as well as Library Service and Technology Act grants. Like Hayley, Angela is also available for general public library and trustee questions at 317-234-6550.

Resource Sharing and Interlibrary Loan
Nicole Brock – Resource Sharing Coordinator – Nicole is the new coordinator for our resource sharing programs, including: InfoExpress library courier service, SRCS, INSPIRE and the Indiana Share program. She can be reached at 317-232-3699.

Digitization
Connie Rendfeld – Digital Initiatives Librarian – Connie coordinates the Indiana Memory statewide digital collection, and serves as a point person for Indiana’s DPLA hub and the InDiPres digital preservation initiative.
Jill Black – Digital Initiatives Specialist – Jill assists with scanning and metadata for Indiana Memory projects, and provides general consultations and training for libraries embarking on digitization projects.

Other support
Terry Black – Administrative Assistant – Terry provides secretarial support to library consultants in the Library Development and Professional Development Offices. Terry maintains our office records, which include E-Rate forms, legal, history and correspondence files. Terry also maintains the Jobs page and coordinates “Read To Me,” an early literacy program for children of individuals who are incarcerated. You can reach Terry via email or at 800-451-6028 and she will direct your question wherever it needs to go.
Jen Clifton – Library Development Office Supervisor – Oversees all of the aforementioned services, and is happy to either answer or redirect questions on any of the services. 317-232-3715

Don’t forget, your library also has an assigned regional consultant from our Professional Development Office who is available for site visits, new director visits, staff trainings, robot/maker/VR kit deliveries and other general questions or advice. Let us know how we can assist your library this year!

This post was written by Jen Clifton, Library Development Office, Indiana State Library.

Pearl Harbor: The day and its place in our history

Dec. 7, 1941 is the day the Japanese military bombed Pearl Harbor. The event and America’s subsequent entry into World War II are a part of our history, but it is a history many only know from a high school class or from movies. The materials in our collection could be used to add depth to your knowledge of the day “that will live in infamy” or even change your understanding of it.

The Indiana State Library has over 200 items on Pearl Harbor in various formats throughout our collections. The Federal Government Documents Collection includes hearings and reports on, and by, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, as well as materials such as “Pearl Harbor revisited: United States Navy Communications Intelligence, 1924-1941” by Frederick D. Parker and the United States National Security Agency/Central Security Service Center for Cryptologic History, which is part of the United States Cryptologic History series. Of particular interest is the book “From Pearl Harbor Into Tokyo: the Story as told by War Correspondents on the Air.” Published in 1945, it is best described by the following information, which is on the title page:

“The documented broadcasts of the war in the Pacific as they were transmitted by CBS throughout America and the world, are taken verbatim from the records of the Columbia Broadcasting System.”

The library’s general collection has a wide variety of materials on Pearl Harbor written from different angles and viewpoints. These include the book “Remember Pearl Harbor” by Blake Clarke, published in 1942. This book has accounts of the attack in snippet style, firsthand viewpoints of military and civilians, that give the feel of what happened that day. There is also “Pearl Harbor,” a 2001 National Geographic Collector’s Edition book that along with quotes from survivors, has photographs of a time leading up to that day, the attack itself and its aftermath.

So, if you’re interested in “the date that will live in infamy,” according to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or simply want to impress your teacher or professor with your next history project, come to the Indiana State Library and we’ll help get you the resources you need.

This blog post was written by Daina Bohr, Reference and Government Services librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at (317) 232-3678 or via email.

Indiana State Library volunteer appreciation luncheon

Although April has passed, this is still a good time to reflect on the annual volunteer appreciation luncheon that took place on Friday, April 27, 2018 at the Indiana State Library (ISL). This is the one time of the year where we have the opportunity to formally say thank you to all the special people who give of their time and talents to make so many of the programs here at ISL so successful.

At least 25 of our volunteers were able to attend the luncheon, along with the representatives of the various divisions and areas in the library in which the volunteers serve. The meal provided by Sahm’s Catering consisted of grilled barbeque chicken breasts and ratatouille as entrees, along with various sides, was well-received. Desert was a decorated cake indicating our appreciation to our volunteers.

Following the meal, a short program, hosted by the members of our library staff, highlighted the various positions that our volunteers hold. Individuals who act as board members, volunteer for Indiana Voices and serve in the genealogy, manuscripts, cataloging and Indiana divisions were recognized for their dedication to their tasks here at ISL. As a part of the luncheon program each volunteer was given an Indiana State Library jigsaw puzzle as a gift.

The program closed with special recognition of Kathleen Munsch, as Volunteer of the Year. Kathleen has served as a narrator for Indiana Voices since 2009 and has recorded over 33 titles since that time.

State Librarian Jacob Speer

The Indiana State Library, once again, would like to thank all of its volunteers for all of their service and for helping our facility provide the best possible service to the citizens of our state and beyond.

Kathleen Munsch, Volunteer of the Year, with Indiana Voices Director Lin Coffman

If you’re interested in how you, too, can help out here at ISL, click here for more information. The volunteer application form can be found here.

This blog post was written by Linden Coffman, director of Indiana Voices. For more information about volunteering send an email or call (317) 232-3683.

‘Hoosiers at War!’ reception to take place at Indiana State Library

Visit the Indiana State Library on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, from 4:30 to 7 p.m., for a special open-house reception to coincide with the “Hoosiers at War! From the Homefront to the Battlefield” exhibit that is currently on display throughout the library.

Over 150,000 people from Indiana answered the call to serve when the United States entered the Great War on April 6, 1917. “Hoosiers at War! From the Homefront to the Battlefield” showcases publications, correspondence, diaries, photographs and other materials detailing the experiences of Hoosiers during World War I, both at home and abroad.

The installation process.

The library will present artifacts of every day Hoosier heroes from the Great War, as well as some specially-selected treasures from the library’s collections. Library tours will also be available and light refreshments will be provided. Click here to register for this free event. Registration is encouraged, but not required.

The library is located at 315 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. Parking is available in the Senate Ave. parking garage across from the library for $10 beginning at 4:30 p.m. The garage accepts credit cards only. No cash payments will be accepted. Street parking is also available.

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

ISL program helps connect incarcerated with family, build literacy skills

Since 2000, the Indiana State Library (ISL), in partnership with the Indiana Department of Corrections, has supported the Read-To-Me program. The objectives of Read-To-Me are as follows:

  • Break the cycle of incarceration and low literacy
  • Educate parents to become their child’s first teacher
  • Instruct parents in the use of children’s books to teach the children in their lives
  • Make personal connections with the children during the period of incarceration

Through the program, incarcerated individuals are able to select books to read aloud and send recordings of the readings to family members, whether it’s children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews.

Terry Black processing materials for the Read-To-Me program.

The program was spearheaded by passionate and resourceful former ISL librarians like Marie Albertson and Marcia Smith-Woodard. I now currently serve as the lead coordinator. There are currently five Indiana correctional institutions participating in the program, serving both men and women. I work with the program coordinators inside each of the participating facilities providing the books and supplies needed to record them.

Most books are donated to the state library. Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant funds cover the purchase of CDs, DVDs or Hallmark Recordable books, as well as the shipping materials and postage for each book. A publishing company provides many chapter books and teen-level books. However, donations of new or slightly used preschool level or early reader books are always appreciated.

Materials coming in and going out.

The service is in high demand and growing. In 2016, over 421 incarcerated individuals read and recorded for their children. Within the first nine months of 2017, I have mailed 502 packages.

According to the on-site coordinators, incarcerated individuals and their families are appreciative of the service. Here are some recent anonymous comments:

“My children love the attention I give to them and I’m amazed by the questions they ask. Plus, they are growing, regardless, and the personal connections help their understanding in my incarceration.” – CIF

“It made a difference in my life because I’m showing my sons that I still love them no matter what and I’m still here for them. My love will never change how I feel about them.” – Westville

“I was shy to read; especially into the camera, but now that I did this for my kids I feel a lot better about it.” – Westville

“My grandchildren love seeing me on the big screen TV and when I am reading to them it brings back memories to them. We used to read books all the time.” – Madison

“The Read-To-Me program has kept my grandchildren busy for hours, not only enjoying the story, but remembering the times that I’ve read to them in the past. It keeps us in touch with each other on a different level, and for that, I am grateful.” – Madison

“This program has allowed me to build a relationship with my grandchildren, some I have never met. They can hear my voice and get the opportunity to get a book read to them by their grandma/nana. It has been a true blessing. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to participate in this program.” – IWP

After 17 years of the program, I think the program is going very well. Of course, there is always room for improvement. Hopefully, we can continue to support and educate parents to be better readers for themselves and for the children in their lives. I hope to find new avenues to increase interest in the program with positive promotions and incentives. The program could benefit from more funding to provide better quality equipment and supplies. Finally, our goal is to expand the program to the state’s juvenile facilities in some way.

Read-to-Me is supported in part through an LSTA grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

This blog post was written by Terry Black. Black is the administrative secretary for the Statewide Services Division. She can be reached at via email

Continuing education website gets a facelift

The Continuing Education portion of the Indiana State Library’s (ISL) website will be undergoing some changes soon. ISL’s Certification Program Director and Legal Consultant Cheri Harris and Professional Development Office Supervisor Suzanne Walker have been working through the website to identify instances where the same information is listed in multiple places, places where information does not match and pages that are confusing and wordy. “Our hope is to make the website more useful by making it easier to navigate,” Harris said. “In addition to streamlining the way the site is organized,” she added “we are also updating the language and content.”

The website will be updated gently in stages. A major overhaul to the archived webinar page has already been completed. The next phase will tackle the main menus and the initial landing pages and then more changes will spread out from there. The look of the site will mostly remain the same, but watch for a new menu for important forms, more ISL staff on the contact page and the changes to the Archived Webinar page.

“That’s what I’m most excited about,” Walker said. “Now people will have a much more visual experience with our archived webinars. They are now grouped by category with clickable tags to help the user find similar trainings. We have so many great trainings. We will easily hit fifty webinars this year. It is great that people can use the search box on the website to find them and the fact that they are now categorized and tagged makes it almost like a webinar database.”

Here’s a sample of what the old archived webinar page looked like:

Lots of text, arranged by date, with the newest webinars at the top and it linked out directly to YouTube.

Introducing, the new look:

Each webinar has a landing page where ISL can link to additional resources about the topic and each webinar has a category at the top of the block of text (Populations and Programming are shown here) that are color-coded and alphabetized.

Check back often to observe all of the updates.

Submitted by Suzanne Walker, supervisor of the Professional Development Office at the Indiana State Library and co-director of the Indiana Center for the Book.

Barb Stahl “Skybridge” exhibit on display at the Indiana State Library

Compared to many of her previous paintings, often characterized with seemingly chaotic textures, drips, brushstroke and colors, “Skybridge” represents a moment of pause and reflection; a breath of calm in the middle of the storm. The “Skybridge” series, created over a period of six months, is the first group of paintings Stahl has created with the intention that they be viewed together in a particular order to allow the viewer to move through this achievement of calm with her. It portrays a reflection of the inner self: how we process and compartmentalize; how we meditate on our daily lives; how we release internalized anxiety; and, how, in the end, we find ourselves inside.

“Skybridge” on display at the Indiana State Library

“Skybridge” will be on display in the Exhibition Hall of the Indiana State Library from Thursday, April 13, 2017 to July 12, 2017. For hours of operation, directions and parking information, click here.

Artist Barbara Stahl

Born in Vincennes, Ind., Stahl moved to Indianapolis in 1992 after finishing her MFA in painting from the University of Pennsylvania. While earning her BFA in painting from Indiana University in Bloomington, she received an Honors Division Research Grant to study in Florence, Italy. In addition to being an accomplished fine artist, Stahl is also the founder and owner of Stahl Studios Inc., which specializes in commercial and public art, through which she is perhaps best-known for the larger-than-life Indiana Pacers schedule wall near Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Her large-scale mural work always begins with a grid, enabling her to scale the original, smaller mural design to the massive size required for the wall. After many years, the concept of the grid has come to play an important part in her more abstract fine art pieces. For Stahl, this grid represents the connectivity of all matter, including all of us.

This blog post was written by Rebecca Shindel and Bethany Fiechter, exhibition chairs, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.