Virtual field trip now available

The Indiana State Library serves all of Indiana, including its farthest flung counties. For many counties, bringing a busload of students to visit us here at the State Library is just not feasible. Luckily, we’ve designed a virtual field trip for teachers to explore with their students at their own pace. Designed in Google Docs, the virtual field trip includes Indiana Trivia, a virtual tour with videos of several of the library’s spaces, a deep dive into the Indiana Young Readers Center and much more!

The quickest way to learn about our building is certainly the videos about each area of the library. Of note is the Stacks video that allows students to see into areas of the library not open to the public.

Teachers can extend their virtual field trip by booking a virtual visit with the Indiana Young Readers Center Librarian. The librarian is happy to chat with classes about Indiana Authors, being a librarian or architectural features in the Indiana State Library.

Feel free to reach out for more details about this opportunity. The Indiana Young Readers Center librarian can be reached here.

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

A look at the Reference and Government Services Division’s collection at the Indiana State Library

Did you know the largest collection of material at the Indiana State Library is not from the Genealogy, Manuscripts, or Indiana Division collections, but from the Reference and Government Services Division? The division consists principally of the general collection, non-Indiana related material, government documents and the Indiana State Data Center collections. With the largest collection of material in the library, Reference and Government Services also has some of the state library’s best treasures.

The State Library serves as the Regional Depository for the state of Indiana, collecting all content published by the Government Publishing Office as part of the Federal Depository Library Program. It is not clear exactly when the library joined the program, but the earliest record of involvement is from 1899. The library began collecting government documents from its inception, with the oldest federal document in our collection being the Journal of the Second Session of the United States of America, Begun and Held at the City of New York, Jan. 4, 1790.

The library even has government documents that predate the founding of our country. Before the internet and readily available interlibrary loan systems, most states provided other state libraries with their own printed “state documents.” When Massachusetts shared their state documents, they sent the Indiana State Library copies of the Journals of the Massachusetts-Bay, when it still an English colony, including a set from 1763 to 1785.

The Indiana State Library has been a research library since 1825, but as the library’s mission evolved, so have the collection policies. Since Indiana has a robust public library system, the State Library no longer collects fiction from non-Hoosiers. However, prior to the evolution of the public library system, the State Library bought what are now prized early edition books by the great American authors: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Louisa May Alcott, O’ Henry and Mark Twain, among others. One of Twain’s books, “Punch Brother Punch and Other Sketches,” has a letter to his publisher written and signed by Samuel Clemens tipped into the back of the book!

The State Library also has materials that are hundreds of years old, but are new to many. Case in point, this past August, the library hosted “The Mystery of the Darlington Bible” event. The program featured a talk from medieval scholar David Gura about the discovery of this historic work. The “Darlington Bible,” which was donated to the library in 1953 by the family of Frank Graef Darlington, is a 13th century illuminated manuscript bible. The rare bible is considered a new discovery to the medieval scholars’ community.

Sometimes literary treasures appear in odd places. In 1934, playwright Gilbert Seldes recreated an ancient Greek play, “Lysistrata,” originally written by Aristophanes. The Limited Editions Club of New York commissioned Pablo Picasso to illustrate a limited number of published volumes. The library owns copy number 583 which is signed by Picasso!

Another example of discovering a library treasure occurred while searching the General Pamphlet Collection. Rayjeana Duty, Circulation Support supervisor, discovered a rare single sheet of a newspaper, Le Journal Illustré from May 13, 1883. What made this issue unique and special is that it contained articles and illustrations showing the construction of the Statue of Liberty, before it was given to the United States in June of 1885. The images in the newspaper showed not only the Statue of Liberty being built, but also showed various images of the internal structure of the Statue of Liberty.

These are but a few examples of some of the treasures found at the Indiana State Library. You can view any of these ‘treasures’ as they belong to all of us!  Appointments are not required, but are strongly recommended to reduce your wait times while material is being retrieved from our closed stacks. You can reach us at 317-232-3678 or by using our Ask-a-Librarian service.

This blog post was written by Marcia Caudell, supervisor of the Reference and Government Services Division at the Indiana State Library.

Indiana’s public library districts and the 2020 census

The 2020 census figures are in, and Indiana’s population grew by nearly a third of a million Hoosiers over the last 10 years. While many were hopeful this might be the decade Indiana would reach the 7 million mark, we fell short of that at 6,785,528 residents. Some of the largest areas of growth were in the donut counties surrounding Indianapolis – specifically Hamilton, Hancock, Johnson, Hendricks and Boone – as well as Tippecanoe, Allen and Lake counties.

What do the decennial changes in population mean for your local public library? Over the next year or two, some patrons and staff might see changes in hours or requirements for future hires. Public libraries in Indiana are required to meet a set of standards required by statute, based on the size of their population service area. These standards dictate levels of service, including the number of hours a library must be open, as well as minimum staff qualifications related to education and experience for professional positions.

In Indiana, public libraries serving over 40,000 residents are considered Class A libraries, while mid-sized libraries serving 10,000-39,999 residents are Class B, and those serving fewer than 10,000 are Class C libraries. Just for perspective, over half, or 128 out of the 236 public libraries statewide, are Class C libraries with the lesser requirements.

Indiana public library classes are reevaluated every 10 years following the decennial census. A change in service population can affect a library’s class size, causing the library to need to reexamine their service models to accommodate the new or lost residents. In 2020, five public library systems – Goshen, LaGrange, Newburgh Chandler, West Lafayette and Westfield-Washington – increased their class size, while four systems moved down a class. For those who moved up a class, some will find they need to increase their hours, and staff accepting new positions may need to meet minimum educational requirements set in Indiana’s certification rules. This information was communicated to the affected directors in a letter from the Indiana State Library.

Indiana public libraries receive a majority of their funding through property tax dollars, so changes in population may also gradually affect a library’s tax base. Areas that have lost population may subsequently have lost funding, which disproportionately affects the smallest libraries in the state, many of whom serve fewer than 3,000 residents.

Finally, individuals who do not live in a public library service area who purchase non-resident cards may find that their fee has changed. That is because each library’s non-resident fee is based on the library’s cost per capita in the previous year, which will now be based on the 2020 population.

A table showing service area population changes for each library district from 2010 to 2020 can be viewed here.

Evaluating the census data also gave STATS Indiana a chance to update the interactive map of public library districts and contract areas in the state, which can be viewed here.

A special thanks to Katherine Springer, state data coordinator, for her assistance collaborating with the Indiana Business Research Center to examine and compile the 2020 census data for libraries. Thanks also to Angela Fox for providing public library survey data that served as the basis for determining library districts.

Libraries with questions about their service areas can contact Jen Clifton in the Indiana State Library’s Library Development Office.

This blog post was written by Jen Clifton, Library Development Office director.

Indiana participates in the 2022 National Book Festival

The Library of Congress is once again presenting the National Book Festival, and Indiana is excited to be part of it. The 22nd iteration of the festival will take place in-person on Sept. 3 at the Washington Convention Center. A selection of programs will be livestreamed, and videos of those presentations can be viewed online after the festival concludes. The theme for this year’s festival is “Books Bring Us Together.”

Indiana is participating in the festival in a variety of ways. The Indiana Center for the Book will staff the Indiana booth in the Roadmap to Reading area of the festival, and two books by Indiana authors are being highlighted at the festival as part of the Great Reads from Great Places initiative. “Zorrie” by Larid Hunt is the selection for adult readers and “You Should See Me in a Crown” by Leah Johnson is the selection for youth readers.

The Indiana Center for the Book recently hosted an evening with Laird Hunt where Suzanne Walker, director of the center, spoke to the author of “Zorrie” about the novel and especially about the author’s Indiana roots. “Zorrie” is unique because it was chosen to represent two states at the festival. Laird Hunt is from Indiana, but currently lives in Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island Center for the Book partnered with Indiana on the event and has also chosen the book to represent their state at the festival.

Leah Johnson, author of “You Should See Me in a Crown” was interviewed back in 2021 by Sammy, the toucan puppet affiliated with the Indiana Center for the Book. They talked about books, reading, and of course, being from Indiana.

In addition to these two authors, Indiana author Karen Joy Fowler will also be at the festival in-person. Fowler’s book “Booth” is featured in a Toolkit put together by Indiana Humanities and Indiana Center for the Book. Use the toolkit participate in the festival. Explore the writings of one of the authors. Learn more about the Library of Congress, our national library. Listen to a podcast interview in a group and discuss it afterwards. Above all, enjoy connecting with Hoosier literary heritage. The Golden Age of Indiana literature isn’t in the past. It’s beginning all over again.

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

William Kimberley Palmer scrapbook

One of the recent items added to the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collection is the William Kimberley Palmer scrapbook (V149). The scrapbook contains autographs from many notable people from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including this June 7, 1895 letter sent to Palmer by Nikola Tesla:

Nikola Tesla signature.

Palmer was born on March 19, 1856 in Crawfordsville to William and Clara Palmer. In 1865, the family moved to Chicopee, Massachussetts and following his graduation from local high school in 1872, William moved to New York City and secured a clerical position with Charles Scribner’s Sons. He rose to the position of cashier before failing health required him to leave the firm and move to Kansas. He married Louise A. Lesuere on June 16, 1886 and they had four children. By the early 1890s, he had moved back to New York and resumed his work at Scribner’s. Besides his work with the publishing company, he was also an author and poet and was active in may civic and patriotic societies. He passed away at the age of 82 on Aug. 1, 1938.

John Philip Sousa signature.

Before his death, he donated the book to the Indiana State Library. This is somewhat odd considering he didn’t live in Indiana long. It’s possible no one else wanted it, but there is another scrapbook at the University of California Berkley, which is even more strange. He also donated books to Indiana University and the Library of Congress.

J. Wells Champney drawing.

When the scrapbook arrived in the lab it was assessed for condition. The scrapbook only exhibited minor condition issues such as small tears, loose attachments and residual soot that most likely came from the Indiana State Library’s old heating system. The repairs to the scrapbook were minor and conducted first by former intern Meghanne Phillips, and then completed by Queen’s University graduate conservation intern Rebecca Clendinen. All the pages were cleaned, all the tears were repaired and all the loose attachments were secured. A new custom storage box was also made.

Booker T. Washington signature.

Now digitized, the entire scrapbook can be viewed here in the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collections. Items in the volume include a caricature by Thomas Nast; a small sketch by J. Wells Champney; notes for a sermon written by Henry Ward Beecher; a sketch of Palmer by artist Francis Lathrop; a letter from Henry Morton Stanley, the explorer who found David Livingstone; letters from Booker T. Washington, Mary Murray Washington and Robert R. Moton on Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute letterheads; John Philip Sousa’s signature with musical notes for “The Stars and Stripes Forever;” and Samuel Francis Smith’s signature and handwritten copy of the first stanza of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” the song he wrote and originally titled “America” in 1832, that he sent to Palmer in 1895.

Henry Morton Stanley signature.

Other signatures include those of Katherine Lee Bates, George Washington Cable, Joseph Chamberlain, George M. Cohan, Calvin Coolidge, Frank Damrosch, Mary Mapes Dodge, Edward E. Hale, Benjamin Harrison, John M. Hay, Julia Ward Howe, John J. Ingalls, Tudor Jenks, Robert Underwood Johnson, Douglas MacArthur, William McKinley, Nelson A. Miles, D.L. Moody, J.P. Morgan, John Pershing, William C. Redfield, Whitelaw Reid, Jacob Riis, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles M. Schwab, John Sherman, Charles Dwight Sigsbee, Joshua Slocum, William H. Taft, James Tissot, Lew Wallace, Lilian Whiting, Kate Douglas Wiggin and many others.

Douglas MacArthur signature.

Those wishing to view the volume are encouraged to make an appointment with the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division via email or to call 317-232-3671.

This post was written by Victoria Duncan, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor; Laura Eliason, Rare Books and Manuscripts program coordinator; and Seth Irwin, conservator at the Indiana State Library. 

North Manchester Public Library: ‘Fearless, innovative and community focused’

You can clearly see from the positive comments below how much the patrons of the North Manchester Public Library love and appreciate their library. Serving a population of a little over 6,000 in northern Wabash County, this library is doing amazing things for its community.

“Fantastic programming for all ages, staff that remember patrons’ names and interests, a wide range of books, movies, music and periodicals. The North Manchester Public Library is definitely at the heart of the community.”

“Amazing resource for this small community! The mobile hotspots you can check out make those long summer drives great for everyone’s high tech gadgets!”

“It is unusual for a town of our size to have a library of this caliber! The children’s department is second to none! Couldn’t be more proud!”

“I love that kids are allowed to be kids in their section of the library! Fun memories equal children who will love books forever. Keep up the awesome work!”

“One of the best small town libraries in the country.”

Director Diane Randall and her staff have accomplished many great things since she started her tenure in February 2020. Diane was fortunate to step into a library with a staff with many forward thinking ideas. I recently visited Diane to learn about all of the innovative and out of the box programs they are doing. It really takes a special synergy between the library board, director, library staff and community to make a good library an extraordinary library. I love what Diane said to me, “I am fearless, innovative and community focused.” And it shows!

Diane started at the North Manchester Public Library right before the world paused for the pandemic. As many traditional library services were disrupted, such as in person programs and public computer access, new needs in the community became evident. Food insecurity increased as paper and hygiene products became scarce. The library and community came together to fill these needs. Diane has been partnering with many local groups and has been working diligently to obtain grants that will further their vision to meet their community’s needs beyond traditional books.

In Diane’s own words:

“All the collaborations and projects my staff and I develop or create started with the development of the library’s current long range plan. It was very important to gather community and library trustees input as well as all library staff input. I felt it was crucial to include the library management staff of Adult Department manager and marketing coordinator, Jeanna Hann; Children’s Department manager, Sarah Morbitzer; Circulation librarian Cody Goble; and past programming coordinator Heidi Lovett in creating the plan. They not only gained experience in this planning process and understood it on a professional level, but also had creative buy-in and support for it. It was a wonderful team effort from which our full time staff and managers now have greater awareness and foundation as they build the library’s programs, outreach, collections and technology and as they utilize the buildings and grounds spaces. Future projects will include continued development of neurodiverse and sensory collections and spaces in the library; continued development of programming and events utilizing building grounds; and increased focus on collaborations and building of programming with the retirement and senior living communities post COVID pandemic.”

Their teamwork, planning and dedication to the community shines through in what they have accomplished so far.

Non-traditional library services began at NMPL a few years before Diane arrived. One of these services was a seed library, created by former staff member and programming director Heidi Lovett. With these new services, a seed was planted to go beyond the four walls of the library building with these innovative programs. The following list highlights these programs; be sure to click on the links to find out more about each program:

Seed Library – August 2017
Just as libraries have been sharing books for decades, sharing seeds is a natural extension of our culture. It’s a simple premise – take a seed pack, share a seed pack. The packets of seeds can be new or seeds harvested from plants. Novice gardeners get to experiment with new plants and can learn from expert gardeners. This is an all-around winning program for libraries – an efficient way to share seeds; a way to promote botanical literacy and a way to help fight food insecurity. No doubt many gardening books, magazines and videos have been checked out.

Makerspace-2-Go – August 2019
Makerspaces in libraries began around 2005 and grew out of the Maker Movement. Imagine arts and crafts groups, hobbyists, shop classes and science fairs combining in one place. They are spaces within some libraries with resources such as computers, 3D printers, audio and video editing tools and traditional arts and crafts supplies. Makerspaces give patrons the ability to try out technology and tools that they would not normally be able to access. Heidi Lovett, former programming coordinator, and Jeanna Hann, Adult Department manager and marketing coordinator, took it up a notch in 2019 with the ability to check out equipment and tools for home use!

Community Pantry – April 2021
A complementary program to the Seed Library is the Community Pantry. Interested members of the community approached Diane to collaborate to address food insecurity in the community. NMPL partnered with North Manchester Community Pantry to place a large plastic cabinet outside the library entrance. The pantry is stocked with non-perishable food items and paper supplies. The pantry is available 24/7 and community members can take what they need and to leave what they don’t. A local art student was chosen to paint a mural on the outside of the cabinet which lends visibility to the project and sets the tone for its goal. An excellent quote from the library blog sums it up perfectly, “The Community Pantry, a Mutual Aid Space, is where people take responsibility for caring for one another by sharing resources.”

Flat Playground – May 2021
“Social distancing” and “playgrounds closed” – NMPL Children’s Department manager Sarah Morbitzer turned these two phrases into a positive. This playground is like no other one you’ve ever seen. The library staff wanted to promote outdoor activity and intergenerational play with this unique play area. They also wanted to find ways to utilize their spacious library grounds. A blank sidewalk became the canvas for this masterpiece. There are six features on the playground – an eight piece activity track, four square, standing long jump, dart board, twister and snakes and ladders. These activities are great for all ages and mobility levels. This amazing space was made possible by the Bev Westendorf Memorial Fund, the JoAnn Martin Memorial Fund, Friends of the Library, the Tammy Seifert Memorial Fund, EduMarking USA and the NMPL Fun Run.

Pollinator Garden – May 2021
NMPL sits on a beautiful wooded two-acre lot. Members of the local Rotary Club reached out to Diane for a project to refresh the southeast corner of the library landscape through an initial Rotary Club grant. From this initial project, a wonderful collaboration has developed with the Master Gardeners of the North Manchester Rotary Club, the Purdue Extension of Wabash County and the library. A pollinator garden was planned and filled with native pollinator plants with the goal of long term sustainability. The new garden was revitalized entirely by the Rotary Club, volunteers and community members who donated plants and their time. Bonus – related educational programs have been provided by the Purdue Extension Services and also the Master Gardeners. And an extra special group has also sprouted from this – the Dirty Diggers Club run by Children’s Department manager, Sarah Morbitzer. Elementary and middle school-aged youngsters are learning how important pollinators are in relation to the foods that they eat. They are making that connection with their own eyes with their garden. The library is fortunate to be able to use the adjoining grounds of the historic Thomas R. Marshall Home – 28th vice president under Woodrow Wilson – for the Dirty Digger’s garden space through another community collaboration with the North Manchester Center For History.

Winter reading program expansion – January 2022
Through building new and renewed relationships with community businesses that are not part of the library’s summer reading sponsorships, Sarah Morbitzer and Molly Magus, programming coordinator, have developed an exciting growing winter reading program. Open to all, this program has its own unique sponsors and themes and is well supported by the community. It’s a great opportunity to continue to encourage and support reading within the community and is efficient to run via use of the Beanstack reading program software.

Sensory-2-Go shelf – March 2022
Developed by Sarah Morbitzer and Molly Magnus, this new collection is intended to reach patrons with neurodiverse needs. According to Merriam-Webster, neurodiverse is defined as “having, relating to, or constituting a type of brain functioning that is not neurotypical.” The five kits serve specific sensory purposes – high energy, calming, texture and touch as well as items to help with day to day activities (i.e., holding a cup) and other items for building cognitive development. This collection is for all ages, for use inside the library or for checkout to take home. This is a great way for patrons to try out the items first to see if they might make a personal investment.

Little Free Library – April 2022
A new beautiful turquoise blue Little Free Library is found just off North Market Street near the entrance of the Flat Playground. Lead by circulation librarian Cody Goble and Jeanna Hann, NMPL has joined the 150,000 Little Free Libraries around the world. Just like the seed library, people are meant to take a book and leave a book. This was made possible through a generous contribution from the Friends of the Library group.

Homeschool Resource Center – March 2022
Sarah Morbitzer and the Children’s Department have taken resource sharing a step further with their new Homeschool Resource Center. This collection can be used by anyone – for either long or short term homeschooling or for enrichment during school breaks. This collection contains homeschool books for teachers, a microscope, games for practicing sight words and much more!

There are even more projects that are in the works, so stay tuned to the North Manchester Public Library’s website, as well as their Instagram and Facebook pages to find out what’s next. Find out about this new project that is coming Fall 2022:

Electronic Message Center – Fall 2022
Diane is currently working on a collaborative project with their incredibly supportive Friends of the Library. The new digital message center will help promote programs and events, and relay library information to the community. The message center will enhance in-the-moment awareness of what is happening at the library, and will enable the library to reach community members who don’t utilize social media or read the local newspapers. The library will also be able to utilize the digital sign to promote their programs and events in Spanish to welcome and support awareness in our minority communities.

If you are in the North Manchester area, be sure to stop by the library and see all of the awesome things that are happening. Now, some final words from director of the North Manchester Public Library, Diana Randall:

“The staff at the North Manchester Public Library are so awesome! They are fantastically creative with such an innovative approach. They all have such a spirit of service to the community, and the community can feel it. I work daily to support this innovation and creativity, and I like to think outside the box to explore possibilities. I have always had a strong team-centered focus and customer service philosophy, and my staff know this. We work to keep up good communication and support each other. I also feel as a library director, I need to keep focus on the needs of my staff and supporting them. I work daily to let them all know this.

We all know that our libraries must continue to evolve as we move toward the future, and we have to keep a laser focus on what our communities’ needs are regarding services, programming and collections. Being open to new ideas and possibilities are crucial to our survival. I believe Indiana has a fantastic public library system with incredible library directors and library staff who are committed to serving their communities, and to supporting each other. I also am so grateful to the staff at the Indiana State Library for their input and support when I reach out to them with questions or for direction. They set a great foundation for all of us!”

This post was written by Northeast regional coordinator Paula Newcom of the Indiana State Library Professional Development Office and Diane Randall, director of the North Manchester Public Library.

Summer reading with the Talking Book and Braille Library

Summer reading is in full swing at the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. This year’s theme is “Oceans of Possibilities.” All patrons of TBBL between the ages of 4 and 18 are eligible. The program runs from May 31-Aug. 5. Books are available to borrow from the library in braille, large print and digital audio formats; participants can also download digital audio books and braille files from BARD or use the BARD mobile app available from the iTunes app store, the Google Play store or the Amazon App Store.

Any book borrowed from the library within the time frame will count toward a participant’s total. Note that only books borrowed or downloaded from the library will count towards a reader’s total. Every reader will receive prizes!

We are sending out packets each week throughout the program that include prizes, activity sheets and crafts.

To enroll – or if you have questions about the program – please contact Abby Chumin via email or by phone at 317-232-3684 or 1-800-622-4970.

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

The Indiana Library Passport is here!

The Indiana State Library is pleased to announce the launch of the Indiana Library Passport, a mobile passport that encourages everyone to visit libraries across the Hoosier state.

The passport is a free program, open to everyone. It showcases over 60 main libraries and branches to explore – including 31 historical Carnegie libraries – in an easy, mobile-friendly way.

In addition to 31 historical Carnegie libraries, the passport includes stops at the Allen County Public Library, which features the new Rolland Center for Lincoln Research; the South Whitley Community Public Library, which features the Shultz Gem Collection; the Bartholomew County Public Library, which features architectural design by I. M. Pei and the Large Arch statue by Henry Moore; and much more!

Patrons can visit a dedicated mobile passport landing page where they can sign-up for the Indiana Library Passport by providing their name, email address and mobile phone number. A link is then sent to their mobile phone, which opens the passport and directs the user to add the button icon to their home screen, where they can access it any time. There is never anything to download and no bulky apps take up space on a user’s phone.

When participants check in to libraries on the Indiana Library Passport trail, they will be entered into a quarterly drawing for a prize package, including, but not limited to, historical tour tickets, architecture books and gift cards from local and national merchants. Once users sign up for the passport, they only need to use their phone to check in while physically at each location. Participants are eligible to check in to each location on the passport once per week which will enter them into the prize drawing. Click here for detailed instructions on how to sign up and on how to use the passport. Click here to read the Indiana Library Passport FAQs.

The Indiana Library Passport is a collaboration between the Indiana State Library and Bandwango, a well-known technology company in the travel space. Bandwango technology is designed to support free and paid experiences created by destinations and marketed to visitors and locals. They are the technology company behind Visit Indiana’s State Nature Passport, among other passports in the state.

The 2022-23 Indiana Library Passport program is sponsored by the Indiana State Library Foundation.

The Indiana State Library Foundation plays an important role in promoting the dissemination of knowledge and information, the cultivation of historical research and individual ancestry, the preservation of valuable historical documents and the vehicle for the visually impaired to continue their ability to read and hear books. As a partner with the Indiana State Library, the Foundation enables the library to fulfill its mission and enhance its ability to serve the citizens of Indiana in the preservation of Indiana history. The vision of the Foundation is to enable the Indiana State Library to become the finest state library in the country. Click here to read more about the Indiana State Library Foundation and their mission.

Please contact John Wekluk, communications director at the Indiana State Library, with any questions.

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

Maximize your borrowing potential through Indiana’s reciprocal borrowing program

Did you know that as a registered borrower at an Indiana public library, you may have access to the collections of over 170 other public libraries? This is possible through the reciprocal borrowing program, one of the best kept secrets in Indiana public libraries. This blog post will share information about reciprocal borrowing, as well as other options for borrowing from other libraries.

Statewide Reciprocal Borrowing Covenant
While “statewide” is in the name, we will add a disclaimer that not all 236 of the state’s public libraries districts are participants. However, there are 172 currently participating districts all over the state. If you are a patron of a participating library, you can show your home library card, in person, at any of the other participating libraries and receive a borrower’s card with reciprocal borrowing privileges. There is no cost to participate in this service unless you incur late or lost item fees for items borrowed. Please check with the circulation staff at the library you are visiting for details about what is available to reciprocal patrons. Some services, like access to e-books and interlibrary loan, may not be available to reciprocal patrons per local policy.

Local Reciprocal Borrowing Covenants
Some library districts have opted to partner only with nearby districts to extend borrowing privileges to the patrons of neighboring libraries. These may include county-wide agreements or agreements between libraries that are close in proximity to each other. While the Indiana State Library collects information on which libraries are participating in such agreements, the circulation staff at your library can give you the most up to date information about whether or not they have a reciprocal agreement with other local libraries. There is no cost to participate in this service, unless you incur late or lost item fees.

Public Library Access Card
If your library is not participating in either of these reciprocal agreements, you can purchase access to all of the 236 public libraries in the state through the Public Library Access Card program. With a PLAC card, a borrower can visit any of the state’s 236 public libraries and show their home library’s borrowing card to receive a card from that library. PLAC cards may be purchased at the circulation desk at any public library. The cost of a PLAC card in 2022 is $65 per person per year and cards may be used for 12 months from the date of purchase. Before purchasing a card, a borrower must first have a current borrower card (or paid non-resident card, if they live in an area with no library service) from a public library district. For more information on the PLAC program, visit this page.

Interlibrary Loan
If you are interested in accessing the books or media on shelves at other Indiana public libraries, but are unable to visit in person, enquire with your local public library about interlibrary loan or other borrowing options. There is a statewide network of delivery vehicles that transport library materials around the state daily.

Evergreen Indiana
Is your public library an Evergreen Indiana library? Then you already have access to most of the materials at other libraries at over 100 other Evergreen libraries. Simply request materials from other Evergreen libraries to be shipped to your home library, or show your green Evergreen Indiana card to borrow in person from other participating libraries.

Please note that while libraries are happy to share with other libraries, whenever possible, materials should always be returned directly to the lending library, or the library from which that item was borrowed in the case of interlibrary loans or Evergreen loans.

We are happy to let the secret out about these ways to maximize your borrowing power. Happy reading!

This blog post was written by Jen Clifton, Library Development Office director. She can be reached via email

Indiana announces 2022 Great Reads from Great Places selections

The Indiana Center for the Book and Indiana Humanities have announced two book selections for the annual Great Reads from Great Places program of the United States Library of Congress.

In 2022, the Indiana Great Reads selections will be “Zorrie” by Laird Hunt and “You Should See Me in a Crown” by Leah Johnson.

Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book during the National Book Festival. Each book is selected by a local Center for the Book. In 2022, the Library of Congress suggested states pick two books: one for young readers and one for adults. Books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage.

Hunt’s “Zorrie,” a 2021 finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction, tells the story of one Hoosier woman’s “life convulsed and transformed by the events of the 20th century.” Taking place in Clinton County, the novel is a poignant study in rural Midwestern life and an exploration of the passage of time through individuals and communities. A professor at Brown University, Hunt is an Indiana native, having grown up in Michigantown and graduated from Indiana University Bloomington.

Johnson’s “You Should See Me in a Crown,” a 2020 release named by TIME magazine as one of the best 100 young adult books of all time, tells the story of a queer Indiana teenager’s senior year of high school and her pursuits to get into an elite college by winning the school’s prom queen contest as well as capture the attention of the new girl in school. Johnson grew up in Indianapolis and is a graduate of Ben Davis High School and Indiana University Bloomington.

“Picking books to represent Indiana at the National Book Festival is such a joy,” said Suzanne Walker of the Indiana State Library. “This year’s selections are so strong, and I’m delighted to shine a national light on these two worthy authors.”

The 2022 Great Reads from Great Places in books will be highlighted at the 2022 National Book Festival, which will be in person for the first time in several years and will take place on Saturday, Sept. 3, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. This year’s theme is “Books Bring Us Together.”

For more information about the National Book Festival, Library of Congress and Great Reads from Great Places program, visit here.

This post was submitted by Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book, and Marisol Gouveia, director of engagement at Indiana Humanities.