The polio vaccine in Indiana

As hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers begin to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is worth remembering that many of them have gone through a rapid mass vaccination program before. When many of today’s senior citizens were children, poliomyelitis – more commonly known as polio – emerged as one of the most dreaded childhood diseases on the planet. While most who contracted the virus survived it, polio could have serious and long-term effects on the central nervous system and could also lead to muscle paralysis.

Much like COVID-19, treatment for polio patients focused on respiratory assistance. Instead of being intubated with modern respirators, children with polio often found themselves in a long, formidable cylindrical tube known as an iron lung which would assist with their breathing.

Image and instructions on operating an iron lung from “Recommendations on nursing procedures and techniques in hospitals treating poliomyelitis cases of the Indiana Polio Planning Committee” (Indiana Collection, ISLO 610.73 no. 32).

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, outbreaks of polio across the United States caused widespread panic. Schools were temporarily shuttered, public swimming pools closed and other activities for children were cancelled as parents desperately tried to prevent their children from contracting the disease. The country was desperate for a vaccine.

Headline from the Indianapolis Star, Sept. 15, 1952.

Herald (Jasper County), Sept. 18, 1952. From newspaperarchive.com.

Jonas Salk first developed his polio vaccine in 1952. Mass testing began in 1954 and on April 12, 1955, the vaccine was declared successful and ready to be distributed to the general public, a medical feat which made the front page of many Indiana newspapers.

The Kokomo Tribune, April 12, 1955. From newspaperarchive.com.

Then as now, public health officials had to decide how to prioritize vaccine distribution. Children under 10 years of age, particularly those in grades 1-4, were considered most vulnerable to contracting the disease and were therefore scheduled to receive the vaccine first. And like the current iterations of the COVID-19 vaccine, multiple shots were needed to achieve full immunity.

Advertisement from the Rushville Republican, Jan. 20, 1956. From newspapers.com.

Once the vaccine was deemed effective, manufacturing went into overdrive. Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly was one of a handful of U.S. pharmaceutical companies to produce the vaccine. In 1955, Lilly produced over half of the vials used in the United States during the initial vaccination push.

Article describing vaccine manufacturing at Eli Lilly (Indiana Collection ISLO 614.473 no. 4).

Beginning soon after the public proclamation of the vaccine’s effectiveness in 1955, Hoosier school children quickly lined up at county hospitals, health clinics, or – in many cases – their school gymnasiums to receive their first shot.

The Brook Reporter, April 28, 1955. From newspapers.com.

Thanks to the vaccine and the mass mobilization of public health officials, healthcare workers, pharmaceutical companies, parents and children, polio was dramatically reduced in the United States by 1961 and is no longer considered the threatening childhood disease it once was.

Many of the children who lined up in their school gymnasiums in the 1950s are now in their seventies and are considered most vulnerable to the debilitating effects of COVID-19. They once again find themselves near the head of the line for a brand-new vaccine created to stop a dire public health pandemic. Instead of standing in literal lines at their local school, they must now navigate a virtual line to sign up for an appointment at a local health facility. As of this writing, nearly a million Hoosiers have received the vaccine.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccination program in Indiana, click here.

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.”

Treatment of 3 rare 19th century maps at the Indiana State Library

1855 Map of Jeffersonville, Clark Co. Indiana
Jeffersonville, being positioned along the Ohio River and just north of Louisville, came out of the pioneer era as a metropolis by Indiana standards. This map shows the Jeffersonville and Indiana railroad, as well as the Clark County Plank Road. Jeffersonville was a gateway to southern markets; and later the movement of troops and supplies during the Civil War. Notice all the commerce along the riverfront: sawmills, meat packing and shipyards. Hart and Mapother Lithographers out of Louisville, have a rich body of work surviving in maps, but also print ads, pamphlet cover illustrations and letterhead. The detail on this map is really engaging.

This map came to the lab in extremely poor condition. Like most large 19th century maps, it had been adhered to a large sheet of fabric, which was very dirty. The map was also very deteriorated with lots of missing pieces. It was extremely fragile. Even handling it would cause pieces to fall off. The front of the map was also varnished, which had caused the entire map to darken and discolor. At some point, book cloth was glued to all four edges of the front. Finally, to the entire map had been “silked.” A large sheet of silk had been glued to the entire front of the map making the map appear cloudy and discolored.

The goal for treating this map was to get it to a state where it was stable and could be handled and eventually digitized. The varnish and silk were first removed, along with all the book cloth. The map was then washed, and all the fabric was then removed. The map was then lined onto a sheet of Japanese tissue.

Before treatment image of the front of the map.

Before treatment image of the back of the map.

Removal of silk from the front of the map.

After treatment image of the front of the map.

After treatment image of the back of the map.

1872 Map of Logansport, Indiana
Logansport is another Indiana city with a strong railroad tie. This 1872 map of Logansport shows many rail lines crossing through the city. This map also shows many of Indiana’s internal improvements of the era, Wabash and Erie Canal, and the unlabeled Michigan Road (Burlington Road). Another great data set on this map is the list of “Leading Business Houses of Logansport.” Something of a boomtown, Logansport’s population tripled between 1860 and 1870, going from 3,000 to almost 9,000 people. The map and the text make a wonderful snapshot of what appears to be a bustling town in 1872. Compiled from records of Julius C. Kloenne, city engineer, the subdivisions and out lots are represented in detail, showing names of additions and large landholders edging the town. Kloenne would make his own map of the city in 1876. As neat as the map is, little to be found about the publisher Barnard, Hayward and Company. In contrast, the engravers H.J. Toudy and Company, out of Philadelphia, made a fine business specializing in maps, atlases and birds-eye views until a fire in 1878 destroyed their business.

When this map was first assessed it showed a lot of problems. It was in extremely poor condition suffering from years of heavy use and prior attempted repairs. The entire map had been cut into smaller sections, in what my assume was an attempt to make the map more easily stored. Like the Jefferson map, this map was also adhered to its original fabric and varnished. Significant amounts of clear packing tape was also applied to large areas of the front, and paper had been glued to all four edges.

As with the Jefferson map, the goal for the Logansport map was to repair it for stability, safe handling and digitizing. This would mean removing all the varnish, all the tape and glued on paper, washing the map to remove discoloration, putting the sections back in their correct placement and re-lining the map onto a new sheet of Japanese tissue.

Before treatment of the front of the map.

Before treatment of the back of the map.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan removing tape from the front of the map on a tacking iron.

All of the tape removed.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan removing varnish from the map sections on a suction table.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan washing and cleaning sections of the map.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan removing the backing fabric.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan pasting out Japanese tissue for relining.

Treated section next to the untreated sections.

After treatment images of the front of the map.

After treatment images of the front of the map.

After treatment images of the front of the map.

After treatment images of the front of the map.

1876 Ohio County Centennial Map
Small in size, but rich in details, this map of Ohio County, Ind. was published to celebrate America’s centennial in 1876. The Ohio County Historical Society notes there were perhaps only 250 made. Surviving copies are quite rare. Ohio County was established just 30 years before this map was made. Notable are references to Native American sites at the time in Ohio County. George W. Morse, the mapmaker, is noted in the Ohio County history books as being present at the archeological digs in the area. He also delivered a historical address at the major Centennial Celebration held in Rising Sun the summer of 1876. The Centennial Independence Day was observed with cannons, bells and a parade. And this map!

This map was in an extremely fragile state. It had suffered lots of losses due to years of use. Like the other two maps it had also been varnished. The map had also suffered extensive water damage at some point resulting in staining throughout the entire sheet. Like the Jefferson map and Logansport map it was also adhered to its original fabric which had become very dirty and frayed.

As with the Jefferson and Logansport maps, the goal for this map was to repair it for stability, safe handling and digitizing. All of the varnish was removed, the map was washed and then re-lined onto a new sheet of Japanese tissue.

Before treatment of front of the map.

Before treatment of back of the map.

The map being washed.

After treatment of the front of the map.

After treatment of the back of the map.

This blog post was written by Conservator Seth Irwin and Monique Howell, Indiana Collection supervisor, both of the Indiana State Library.

Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award nominees announced; voting begins

The Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Committee has released its list of nominees for the 2021 Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award. The nominees are “The Box Turtle” by Vanessa Roeder, “Brown Baby Lullaby” by Tameka Fryer Brown, “How Do You Dance?” by Thyra Heder, “Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse” by Jane Godwin and “Who Has Wiggle Waggle Toes?” by Vicky Shiefman.

In its seventh year, the literacy award recognizes picture books that serve an important role in the first years of a child’s life and encourages parents, caregivers and very young children to interact together with exceptional picture books.

Voting is limited to children who live in Indiana and who are under age 6 as of July 31. It is expected that most Indiana children will require help from a parent, caregiver or librarian. Children should circle their favorite Firefly nominee on their ballot and turn it in to their local voting location. This year, every public library system in Indiana will receive 15 print copies of the ballot and six sheets of Firefly stickers for marking nominees and winning titles. Packets of printed materials should arrive by late February or early March. Tallies will be accepted through July 31 and the award winner will be announced on Aug. 9. Voting locations should tally the votes and send them in an email to the Indiana Center for the Book.

The Indiana Center for the Book will be releasing a program guide by March 1. The calendar year for the Firefly Award changed last year as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis. The award nomination period now runs through the summer, allowing librarians to do Firefly programs throughout the run of their summer reading programs.

Click here for a PDF version of the ballot. Click here to learn more about the award.

The committee would like to thank TeachingBooks who supported printing and who put together additional Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award book information.

Please contact Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book, with any questions.

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library.

Charles H. Kuhn, Hoosier cartoonist

Charles Harris “Doc” Kuhn was not a native Hoosier, but much of his career as a cartoon artist occurred during his more than 40 years of residence in Indiana. He was born in 1892 in Prairie City, Illinois and studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He worked for the Chicago Journal and the Rocky Mountain News in Denver before joining the staff at the Indianapolis News in 1922 as an editorial cartoonist. Here’s one of his first cartoons for the News:

Indianapolis News, Jan. 21, 1922. Available from Newspapers.com.

If you are an adult of a certain age, you probably remember advertisements for drawing contests like this one:

The Kokomo Tribune, Jan. 19, 1969. Available from Newspapers.com.

In 1934, the Indianapolis News offered its readers a chance to get free drawing lessons created by Kuhn. A coupon like the one below was printed each day in the newspaper. After clipping six coupons, readers could send them in to receive a chart containing two lessons. The lessons continued for 10 weeks, for a total of 20 lessons.

Indianapolis News, March 29, 1934. Available from Newspapers.com.

With cold weather and continued social distancing, this winter might be a great time to try your hand at learning to draw cartoons. The Rare Books and Manuscripts Division has digitized all twenty lessons and they available to view and download here.

Charles H. Kuhn collection (S0792), Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library.

For 25 years, Kuhn’s editorial cartoons appeared in the Indianapolis News. He was often quoted as saying that “the main thing in a cartoon is the idea. If you haven’t got a good idea, you’re just drawing a pretty picture. Political cartoonists have to read all the time and keep up with current events.”

Indianapolis News, April 19, 1947. Available from Newspapers.com.

He left the Indianapolis News in 1947 and began creating comic strips for Richardson Feature Service of Indianapolis. His drew a two-column panel called “Hoosier Life” (published as “Sparks of Life” in newspapers outside of Indiana) and it ran for a couple years.

Indianapolis Star, May 4, 1948. Available from Newspapers.com.

The Daily Oklahoman, Jan. 30, 1948. Available from Newspapers.com.

Kuhn is best known for his “Grandma” comic strip. Originally published using his middle name, Harris, he went back to signing his work as Chas. Kuhn after King Features Syndicate picked it up in 1948.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 4, 1947. Available from Newspapers.com.

The Hammond Times, Sept. 21, 1950. Available from Newspapers.com.

According to the World Encyclopedia of Cartoons, his “Grandma” comic depicted the adventures of a “tomboyish, mischievous old lady who was a friend to the neighborhood boys.” His own mother was his model for Grandma, and he noted that she “was always full of pep and vigor. One time at 75 years of age, she dressed up in my old Navy uniform, danced a jig and played a piece on her French harp just to help the neighborhood kids put on a backyard show.” He also credited his wife, Lois Stevens Kuhn, with supplying many of the ideas for the comic strip.

“Grandma” was syndicated nationally until Kuhn’s retirement in 1969.  He died at his home in Florida on Jan. 16, 1989 at the age of 97.

This blog post was written by Laura Eliason, Rare Books and Manuscripts assistant, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

From our shelves to your computer screen, part one

“I want to find out more about the Indiana Council of Defense. What do you have in your collections?”

This is a typical reference question that we get here at the Indiana State Library. In response, we search our catalog to see what we have in our collection. We provide a list of items for patrons to browse and ultimately choose what they want to see. We then retrieve the materials for the patron to view and eventually they get re-shelved.

However, times are changing. Over the past decade, digital versions of those materials have populated the internet. Libraries, museums and historical societies of all sizes across the globe are making their collections available online. Here at the Indiana State Library, our digital collections also continue to grow.

But how? How do materials make it to our digital collections? Let’s look at how that happens by looking at the first part of the process.

Our first step is selection. Or, in other words, choosing what gets digitized. We are often looking for materials that we think patrons might use. This can be hard to determine since, like our collections, research is vast and covers a variety of topics. But, we have some guidelines that help us.

First, what happened on this date? Which historical event anniversaries or bicentennials are coming up? For example, it’s been one hundred years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment. We have recently added over 100 items to our digital collections pertaining to the Suffrage Movement.

Another example relating to anniversaries is the upcoming bicentennial of the founding of Indianapolis. We scoured our collections for materials about the centennial to see how the city celebrated. Here’s a program detailing the pageant they had a century ago:

Another aspect of selection is condition. As materials age, they become brittle, making them fragile. For example, the anniversary of World War I was the perfect time to harvest materials from our collections to scan for researchers and students in order to help them find primary sources created during the war years. Sometimes these materials are printed on cheap paper and that paper was not meant to last long.

Here’s an example of a letter. You can see that it has yellowed over the years and part of it is breaking off:

Maps are another example of materials that are hard to handle. We have a large map collection, some of which require conservation work due to their age and condition. This one is very hard to physically handle, making it a perfect map to digitize.

We also look at requests from our patrons, as well as our community. Back to our question at the top of this blog post, we have lots of materials about the Indiana Defense Council that were created during World War I. In this case, we can refer the patron to our digital collections.

Among the materials, we have a 1917 report from the Indiana State Council of Defense. This would also be a great time to revisit the physical collections to see what else we can digitize.

As for the community, IUPUI has a School of Philanthropy. There are numerous materials about local charities in our pamphlet collections. We hope that the students at the school will find those materials helpful, so we make them available in our collection for them to research. Here’s an example from our Charitable Organizations and Philanthropy digital collection:

One last point that we look at is inclusion. Indiana has 92 counties, and we want to make sure that all 92 are represented. We recently added materials from about 15 counties that had very little representation in our digital collections. Here is an example from Brown County. It’s not only about inviting people to visit Brown County, but also in very fragile condition.

Selecting materials is easy when you have a vast collection like we do at the Indiana State Library. But, it’s also hard to do with so many awesome materials to choose from!

This post was written by Christopher Marshall, digital collections coordinator for the Indiana Division at the Indiana State Library.

Food assistance to hungry Hoosiers

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, now is a good time to remember that some people struggle to obtain adequate food on a day-to-day basis. Throughout its history, Indiana has approached this persistent social problem with a combination of both government and private-sponsored solutions.

An early example of government-funded food assistance is demonstrated in these food coupons, issued by the State of Indiana in 1934 during the Great Depression with monetary backing from the federal government. Indigent Hoosiers who qualified could take such coupons to their local store in exchange for the food item listed. In the specimens below, the coupons were used at stores in the communities of Modoc and Carlos, both located in Randolph County. This coupon system was a precursor to the federal Food Stamp Program which began a few years later in 1939 and has lasted in various forms since then. It currently exists as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.

From Unemployment Relief Coupons, 1934 (S1547), Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection

Private organizations have also played an integral role in feeding this state’s hungry. The Indianapolis Community Fund was founded in the 1920s under the name The Community Chest. Its goal was to raise money which would then be distributed to various private agencies involved in social work. This included agencies that provided food assistance. As with the Food Stamp Program, the Indianapolis Community Fund lasted through several iterations and is now the United Way of Central Indiana.

From Indiana Pamphlet Collection (ISLO 361 no. 27 [08] and ISLO 361 no. 252)

An example of a private charity which received financial support from the Community Fund – and one which still operates to this day – is The Wheeler Mission of Indianapolis. Founded in 1893 by a hardware salesman, the Mission has been in continuous operation since then, providing meals, shelter and other essential resources to the city’s most vulnerable people.

From For Human Needs (ca. 1923), Indiana Pamphlet Collection (ISLO 361 no. 27 [12])

As with many aspects of civic life, government and private organizations often work together to provide necessary services. This directory from 1976, issued by the Indiana Commission on the Aging and Aged, lists locations throughout the state where senior citizens could obtain a nutritious meal. Many of the entries are for privately-run charitable organizations.

From the Indiana Collection (ISLI 36263 M482 1976)

Finally, food banks also are an integral part of food assistance in Indiana and collect and distribute food and other essential goods to those in need. Most operate at a local level and may be administered through a church or other religious institution. Many need particular assistance stocking their shelves at the end of the year. The 1999 newsletter below highlights the Share Your Feast Food Drive held by Gleaners Food Bank as a special campaign to solicit food donations for the holidays.

Issue of newsletter for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indiana Collection (ISLI 363.8 G554)

More information on current food assistance programs – including a directory of food banks – can be found at the Indiana State Department of Health’s website.

For more information on the history of charitable organizations in Indianapolis, visit the Indiana State Library’s digital collection.

A brief history of charitable organizations in Indianapolis and a description of materials found in State Library’s digital collection can be found here.

From Give More Because Everybody Benefits from the 50 Red Feather Services supported by the Community Chest (1955), Indiana Pamphlet Collection (ISLO 361 no. 222)

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.”

Conservation of an 1852 map of Madison, Indiana

This 1852 map of the city of Madison is the earliest map of the old river city held in the Indiana State Library’s collections. The detail is brilliant, done by the careful hand of Hoosier pioneer William C. Bramwell. It seems clear that this map is the original map used for the 1854 published map of the city, which is held in Madison. Bramwell seems to have an interesting biography, although little is known about the details of his life. Credits to his name include state legislator, surveyor, preacher, inventor and spinning wheel maker. Whatever his true calling, it is clear his attention to detail and craftsmanship has left us a beautifully rich and detailed map of one of Indiana’s oldest cities.

It is not known when the Indiana State Library acquired this map, or its history before it arrived at the library. When it was found in the collection it was in an extremely deteriorated and fragile state. The map was still adhered to its original fabric backing, which had become very dirty and deteriorated. As with many maps from this period, the front had been varnished, which resulted in even more deterioration. The front of the map had also become so dirty and discolored that most of the map could not be read. Many pieces of the map had broken off and become lost, and it was difficult to determine the difference between the paper areas and the cloth. It was in such poor condition, that even unrolling it would result in pieces falling off. Finally, as with many maps from this period, there was evidence of water damage as well in the form of staining.

The goals for this project were simple. In its current state, the map was unusable. It was so dirty that it could not be read, and it was so fragile that even unrolling it would result in more pieces falling off. The goals of this project were to clean the map as much as possible to remove the old varnish, the dirt and the staining and then line the map onto a single sheet of Japanese paper to allow for it to be stable enough to handle. While the goals were simple, the execution would prove to be complicated by the enormous quantity of loose pieces that would come loose once the original fabric was removed. In order to preserve the information in the map, all the loose pieces would need to stay in their correct spots throughout the entire treatment. Finally, the map would be encapsulated in a custom polyester film sleeve to allow for more protection. The below pictures outline the conservation process.

Before treatment of top section of City of Madison and Environs by H.G. Bramwell, city surveyor, 1852.

Before treatment of bottom section of City of Madison and Environs by H.G. Bramwell, city surveyor, 1852.

In order to remove the varnish, the map was placed faced down on blotter paper a high-power suction table and sprayed with ethanol.

The ethanol would penetrate through the fabric and paper, solubilizing the varnish, and pull it into the blotter below.

This process was repeated until all the varnish was removed. The map was routinely lifted and checked during this process.

The blotter shows all the varnish removed from the map.

The map sections were washed in modified hot water on a rigid sheet of plexiglass for support.

The map was carefully lifted on the plexiglass support and tilted. Using a small brush and a Japanese mister, the entire surface of the maps was cleaned to remove all remaining varnish and dirt. Careful attention was paid to make sure all the loose pieces of the map stayed in their correct spots throughout the entire process.

This image shows the progress of the cleaning of both sections.

This image shows the progress of the cleaning of both sections.

This image shows the progress of the cleaning of both sections.

After the map sections were cleaned, the map was placed face down on polyester film and the original fabric was carefully removed making sure none of the loose pieces moved.

This image shows the map after the fabric was removed and the thousands of small pieces of the map that are now loose.

This image shows the map after the fabric was removed and the thousands of small pieces of the map that are now loose.

The map was lined onto a large sheet of Japanese paper with wheat starch paste and dried between wool felt blankets.

The map was lined onto a large sheet of Japanese paper with wheat starch paste and dried between wool felt blankets.

The map was lined onto a large sheet of Japanese paper with wheat starch paste and dried between wool felt blankets.

The top and bottom section of the map next to each other. At this point, the bottom section has already been treated and the top section had not yet been treated.

After treatment of top section of City of Madison and Environs by H.G. Bramwell, city surveyor, 1852.

After treatment of bottom section of City of Madison and Environs by H.G. Bramwell, city surveyor, 1852.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan encapsulating the map in a polyester film sleeve with an ultrasonic polyester welder.

Click here to read more about the conservation efforts of the Indiana State Library.

This blog post was written by Seth Irwin, conservator, and Monique Howell, Indiana Collection supervisor, both of the Indiana State Library.

Resource sharing update recap

On Oct. 2, the Indiana State Library hosted a resource sharing update for the Indiana library community. The two-hour webinar detailed the latest resource sharing information in the state. This took the place of the annual Discovery to Delivery conference which is normally held in-person each year. This abbreviated virtual conference featured sessions from State Library staff and vendors, and was attended by public, academic, school and institutional library staff. State Librarian Jacob Speer and Nick Schenkel, director of the West Lafayette Public Library, kicked off the conference by welcoming attendees.

Sessions included:

EBSCO – Rick Rybak, Academic Regional Sales Manager, EBSCO
As of July 1, the INSPIRE virtual library has been updated to feature EBSCO databases, including an upgrade to Academic Search Complete. Rick explained some of the newer additions to EBSCO’s offerings, including eBooks and LearningExpress.

Teaching Books – Nick Glass, Founder and Executive Director
Nick introduced the group to the resources available through TeachingBooks, which is also part of INSPIRE. While TeachingBooks’ primary audience is educators and caregivers, Nick introduced the new Book Connections interface, which is intended for every reader. Resources on these sites include background information on books and authors, including complete audio and video book readings.

InfoExpress – Nicole Brock, Indiana State Library Resource Sharing Coordinator and NOW Courier Staff
Nicole gave an update on the courier service beginning with the shutdown in March to the gradual reopening this summer. Nicole passed along some best practices related to shipping. NOW Courier staff shared some insight on how their mission is aligned with the Indiana State Library’s and gave a preview of some upcoming developments, including an upgrade to a new platform which will reduce unnecessary stops.

SRCS and Indiana Share – Nicole Brock, Indiana State Library Resource Sharing Coordinator
Nicole Brock gave an update on participation in both interlibrary loan services, and a preview of upcoming SRCS enhancements. Following the presentation, Nicole also hosted an informal lunch discussion for SRCS libraries.

Project ReShare – Scott Garrison, Executive Director, Midwest Collaborative for Library Services
Scott capped off the morning by providing an update on Project ReShare, an exploratory service that has the potential to breakdown barriers between consortia and systems, putting the patron in the center and increasing access to library materials.

The recording of the workshop and presentations is posted to State Library’s Resource Sharing page.

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

Toucan interview with Keiko Kasza

You might have seen Sammy the Interviewing Toucan talk to some Indiana authors recently. Sammy is releasing a new video every Tuesday at 2 p.m Eastern Time via the Indiana State Library’s Facebook account. You can see past interviews on YouTube.

Indiana author Keiko Kasza preferred to do her interview via email and Sammy was more than happy to accommodate her. What follows is their interview.

Sammy: We always start our interviews by talking about Indiana. Can you share with us, what is your connection to Indiana? It’s very exciting to me that you were born in Japan, but you are now a Hoosier!
Keiko: We moved to Bloomington in 1985, when my husband got a teaching job at Indiana University. I’m happy to announce that we have witnessed the IU men’s basketball team winning the national championship. We screamed for joy in our little apartment in Bloomington.

Sammy: Do you consider yourself to be a Hoosier?
Keiko: After living here for more than 30 years, I think I have won Hoosier citizenship.

Sammy: Let’s talk about your work. All of your books feature animals. What made you choose animals to star in your books?

Keiko: I think there are four reasons why I use animals. For starters, animals are perfect characters when you write universal stories. Not specifying a race or a nationality of the human book characters really helps me create universal stories and focus on the theme itself. Therefore, I believe that my books have been translated into 15 languages, not because of the quality – though I’d like to believe that’s true, too – but mostly because it’s easier to translate universal stories into different languages.

Secondly, I have more freedom if I use animals. I can make a bad wolf look really bad, or make a hippo really fat, which might offend some people if I used humans.Thirdly, if I have to write a human story, I would need to do tons of research. What era is it? What is the social code like, and what kind of clothes or hairstyles are people wearing, etc. Although I read scientific information on the habitats of animals, their food and their enemies, the background information is minimal compared to writing human stories.

And lastly, I can’t draw humans too well.

Sammy: What is your favorite animal to draw?
Keiko: I don’t have a favorite animal to draw but I do have animals that I don’t want to draw. Horses, camels, zebras, etc.; those who have long legs. I often make animals stand up and walk on two legs like humans, so animals with long limbs look awkward.

Sammy: One of my favorite books of yours is “A Mother for Choco.” This is probably because I myself am a bird. This seems like a great book to share with children who are adopted. Did you have that in mind when you wrote the book?

Keiko: Not at all. The story came from my experience when I first landed in the U.S. I landed in LAX. I have never forgotten my shock at seeing so many different races of people walking around in the airport. Japan – especially back then – was a more homogeneous country; all you saw in Japan were Japanese people. I wanted to write multicultural stories. But since it was published, the “Choco” book has been well-received by adoption and foster families. And I’m glad!

Sammy: Several themes emerge in your books. Animals try to escape being eaten and I also notice stories about friendship and fairness. Why are you drawn to stories like these?
Keiko: When I write, I often think about what it was like when I was 5 years old. What kind of things would you remember from that long ago? Those incidents that gave you strong emotional reactions, such as happy, sad, frustrated and angry. My book, “The Rat and the Tiger,” is based on the frustration I felt dealing with a bossy friend from the time I was 5 until 7 years old. So, if there is a pattern in the themes I write, I would say it has to be my own childhood memories that have never left me.

Sammy: Do you have any advice to people who want to be authors someday?
Keiko: Just like real estate people say, “Location, location, location”, I want to say, “Read, read, read.”

Sammy: How are you doing in regards to the pandemic? I’m assuming this has made travel to Japan nearly impossible.
Keiko: Yes, I cancelled a trip to Japan this spring. Not only to see my family, but I was going to give two talks there. Other talks in the U.S. also have been cancelled.

Sammy: I’m so sorry to hear that. So much has changed due to the pandemic. Are you working on any new books at the moment? Can you tell us about them?
Keiko: I have been working on new stories. So far, I have four stories all dummied out. One is about the relationship between a grandmother and grandchild in Japan. Hopefully it will take my work into a new direction.

Sammy: Thank you so much, Keiko! This is your favorite Hoosier Toucan encouraging you to read local. So long!

This blog post was submitted by Sammy the Interviewing Toucan. 

A virtual National Book Festival featuring the Road Map to Reading and Indiana’s ‘Wake Up, Woods’

Like most things in 2020, the National Book Festival looks nothing like it has in the past. Last year, tens of thousands of attendees crammed themselves into long lines to meet their favorite authors. They joined hundreds of other literary buffs in giant halls at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. to watch interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning writers and famous politicians. They snaked their way through the crowded vendor hall, picking up free bookmarks, posters, and other swag from the hundreds of booths and stages, all catering to the book-loving public who swarmed the festival in droves.

Past National Book Festivals included the crowded Pavilion of the States

None of that is possible in this year’s COVID-19 reality. Instead, the festival has gone virtual. One thing that has always been true of the festival is that it is a free event, open to the public. This year, the public does not only include the people who can make it to Washington, it includes anyone with access to a computer. Virtual attendees will be able to explore nine author “stages” where more than 120 authors will be featured, including many who will be participating in live events where participants can interact with the presenters in real time.

In addition, the 2020 festival will include the Roadmap to Reading feature, a virtual iteration of the beloved Pavilion of the States attraction from years past. In the old days, the Pavilion of the States was one of the most crowded areas of the festival. Each state and territory of the U.S. had a booth where they’d feature a special book, highlight local authors and give away more swag than you could fit in one literary themed tote-bag. This year, each state will be presenting virtual content, including videos and poetry at their virtual booths.

Visit the Roadmap to Reading to experience literary content from all the states

You can visit Indiana at the 2020 National Book Festival by navigating to the National Book Festival’s website. Register to attend the festival, and once you are on the landing page, click on Discover Great Reads to explore as many states as you like, including Indiana.

Indiana’s booth will have lots of content surrounding our chosen book for the festival, “Wake Up, Woods.” Sammy the Interviewing Toucan will do a very special interview with the two authors of the book and there will be plenty of information about Indiana native plants.

You can watch a preview of the Wake Up, Woods interview on Sept. 22 on the Indiana State Library’s Facebook page

The 20th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will be held online Sept. 25-27. For news and updates, follow the festival blog and subscribe to latest updates.

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