Changes to Indiana gun laws

Effective July 1, 2022, gun owners in Indiana may go most places with their firearms, whether or not they have a license to carry and, yes, that means even at your local public library. HEA 1296, passed by the Indiana General Assembly in the 2022 legislative session, removes the requirement for firearm owners to have a license to carry a firearm in Indiana. How does this impact your local public library? Well, it doesn’t significantly, it just removes another restriction on gun owners in the state.

In 2011, the Indiana General Assembly created a law that prohibited political subdivisions from creating regulations related to firearms, including ammunition, storage and carrying. Public libraries are considered political subdivisions under Indiana law, so at that point, libraries lost the ability to keep firearms out of libraries. There are a few exceptions that would permit a library to regulate firearms in the library. For example, library boards can create and enforce a policy that prohibits or restricts the intentional display of a firearm at the library’s public meetings – meetings held by the library board or library board committees.

There is also an exception that allows employers to restrict employees who are on duty in the building from carrying a firearm. However, the employees must be allowed to keep their firearms in their locked vehicles stored in the glove compartment or trunk or otherwise out of plain view. Libraries cannot ask about firearm ownership on employment applications or make ownership or non-ownership a condition of employment.

Click here to read more about this new change in the law. To review the law as it pertains to government regulation of firearms, click here.

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

Beyond books: “Libraries of Things” in Indiana public libraries

Books. Newspapers. Audio and visual materials. These are all things one would expect to find on the shelves in an Indiana public library. But did you know that many public libraries have been expanding their collections to lend non-traditional items, known as a Library of Things?

According to the Allen County Public Library’s website, a Library of Things is a “special collection of ‘things’ that you can check out with your library card. These items are meant to personally enrich your lifelong learning experience – whether it’s through interactive outdoor activities, baking, music or art.”

Greenwood Public Library Binge Boxes – Photo credit: Courtney Brown, Southeast regional coordinator

Over half of the public libraries in our state are offering additional materials. While their collections will vary, you might find:

  • Technology: Laptops, Chrome books, iPads and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, virtual reality (VR) headsets.
  • Crafting materials: Cricut and die cut machines and patterns, sewing machines, quilting and crochet materials, stamps.
  • Kitchen tools: Cake pans, cookie cutters, air fryers.
  • Audio and visual recording equipment, microphones, and light stands, karaoke machines.
  • Binge boxes: curated collections of books, movies and other materials about a topic.
  • Yard tools.
  • Tables and chairs.
  • Bicycles.
  • Seeds.
  • Passes to local attractions, including museums and pools.
  • Nature exploration/adventure packs: birding equipment, binoculars, telescopes.
  • Toys: Legos, puzzles, robots.

Kendallville Public Library – Snow shovel and homewares – Photo credit: Paula Newcom, Northeast regional coordinator

To see what your library offers, inquire with circulation staff or check your library’s website or catalog, including the Evergreen Indiana catalog. Some materials may require a rental agreement or deposit. Many materials are limited to a library’s own borrowers and are unlikely to transit or be available via interlibrary loan.

New Carlisle-Olive Township Public Library – Library of Things on display – Photo credit: Laura Jones, Northwest regional coordinator

Library staff interested in learning more about these collections may be interested in viewing this archived presentation for Indiana libraries, led by Dianne Connery, director of the Pottsboro Public Library in Texas, which is worth one LEU for Indiana library staff.

Enjoy exploring all your library has to offer beyond books!

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

Savings opportunities for Indiana libraries

Indiana Public Libraries can save money on commonly purchased goods and services by leveraging the power of quantity purchasing agreements. Here are several opportunities that libraries may not be aware of:

LibraryIndiana
LibraryIndiana is a purchasing portal created by the Indiana Department of Administration and Spendbridge for use specifically by Indiana Public Libraries. School libraries can make their purchases through K12Indiana.

LibraryIndiana allows users to shop statewide-negotiated contracts, organized into convenient online catalogs. Some of the items available through LibraryIndiana include:

  • DEMCO Library supplies – Library supplies, furniture, carts, books and more.
  • Office Depot – Office supplies, computers and electronics, cleaning supplies and more.
  • Verizon – Wireless plans and accessories.

There are even contracts for janitorial supplies, rental cars, maintenance and other services. There is no cost for libraries to use the portal, and they may even enjoy cost savings.

Library staff interested in browsing the offerings should send an email to request a login.

Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS)
The Midwest Collaborative for Library Services works with more than 70 library vendors to provide central licensing and discounted pricing on over 2,000 library products and services including databases, eJournals, eBooks, library supplies, software and equipment.

More than 200 Indiana libraries are currently MCLS members and can take advantage of these savings. For more information, contact Chrystal Pickell Vandervest at via email or at 800-530-9019 ext 401.

Indiana Department of Administration QPAs
Many of the State of Indiana’s general quantity purchasing agreements (QPAs) are open to other governmental units like public libraries. Some of the purchasing agreements include: interpretation services, office equipment and copiers, wireless service, and vehicles. A list of all current state QPAs can be browsed here.

NASPO
Finally, libraries who send a lot of books and packages out of state may be able to take advantage of reduced rates on small package delivery services through NASPO, the National Association of State Procurement Officials. FedEx and UPS currently have contracts to provide discount shipping services through the State of Indiana. More information can be found here.

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

A look back at 2021

The beginning of each year for many of us is a time of introspection. We reflect on the previous year, what challenges were faced, what monumental milestones happened and what goals were or were not completed. With the new year being symbolically seen as a time for fresh starts, we look forward hopefully to seeing new milestones, meeting new goals and realizing our dreams.

Indianapolis Public Library

In true “New Year” tradition, this blog post will reflect back on 2021 but will do so on the topic of libraries and the legal issues they faced throughout the year. 2021 was the second year in a row where issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the year. Libraries were continuing to figure out the “new normal” and they were adjusting to operate in a world where masks, social distancing and frequent sanitizing were becoming the norm. Among all the normal legal issues employers and public entities face, libraries additionally faced legal issues and challenges related to mask and vaccine mandates and limitations on the use of library meeting rooms and their other public spaces.

Keeping libraries fully staffed remained an issue as frequently employees were out due to COVID-19 illness or quarantine. Story time and library programs became more challenging as the move to digital, versus in-person, programs triggered new technology and copyright challenges. There was renewed interest by libraries in patron liability waivers for programs that did occur in person, as libraries were concerned about being sued if someone got sick after attending a library event. As federal funds trickled their way down to local government entities, including public libraries, there were questions about the steps needed to legally receive and use the funds and how to account for such funds in library financial records.

The Indiana General Assembly enacted several laws related to local government and the pandemic that impacted libraries as well. For example, the General Assembly enacted a law that broadened the authority of local government, including libraries, to hold meetings electronically. Additionally, express authority was granted legislatively for important government documents to be signed electronically. Both of these changes were in response to the need for libraries and other local government entities to be able to continue to govern and maintain operations in the face of public health emergencies and other disasters. The General Assembly also passed a law that prohibited local government entities from requiring vaccine passports (proof of vaccine) making it more challenging for libraries with vaccine mandates to know for sure staff had been vaccinated.

Added to the mix of COVID-19 related issues were the individuals doing “First Amendment audits.” First Amendment audits are when a person or people enter and walk through the library (or post offices or court houses or other government/public settings) with a video camera to record their experience. If the person or people recording are able to record uninterrupted, the public agency is said to have passed the audit. Questions and concerns around patron privacy and how much libraries could legally intervene in such situations were common throughout much of the year.

As 2021 progressed, we grew to realize that the pandemic, while evolving, was not ending. As a result, goals for 2022 include continuing to find creative ways to provide effective uninterrupted library service while keeping library staff and patrons as safe as possible. One of the things libraries are doing is increasing electronic resources and internet accessibility for patrons. Another thing libraries are doing is allowing groups to use meeting rooms and study spaces but limiting capacity so that groups can social distance. Many in-person programs have resumed but have limited attendance capacity to facilitate social distancing. Enhanced sanitation practices continue.

Over time, libraries have evolved from being primarily book repositories and research institutions to being community hubs where you can hang out with your friends, hold study groups and community meetings, and find help, resources and programs on just about any topic. Libraries are resilient and accustomed to adjusting with the times. The challenges of the pandemic notwithstanding, your local library continues to remain one of your community’s best assets. Make it a resolution this year to learn about all the resources your local library provides. You might be surprised at what you find.

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

Challenging Indiana library collections

Throughout 2021, various concerted efforts have been made nationwide to challenge and even censor library collections. Indiana libraries have not been exempt from these attempts. Some Indiana school board meetings have taken an unexpected turn from discussing operational and COVID protocols to attempts to gut school library collections related to hot-button topics like race or gender issues. Additionally, there was even an unsuccessful attempt at legislation that could have punished individual school and public library staff for distributing “harmful material” to minors.

Challenges to library materials have been around for as long as library collections have been around. Even in the late 19th and early 20th century, as most of Indiana public libraries were being formed, some protested fiction in public library collections, as novels were believed to be distracting and frivolous. More recently, attempts have been made to ban several books commonly regarded as classics, and even The Holy Bible made the list of top 10 challenged titles in 2015.

What is troubling about these efforts is that they go against the principles of libraries and librarianship, which is to provide free and open access to information, without judgment. One of the tenets of librarianship is the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, which affirms:

…that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background or views.
  6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
  7. All people, regardless of origin, age, background or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom provides nationwide support, consulting and training for libraries facing collection challenges and works to track trends in challenges, geographically or title and topic-wise.

Public and school libraries are required by the Indiana Code and Indiana Administrative Code to have collection development or materials selection policies. Like other library policies, these policies are authored and enforced at the local level. Policies should include the rationale behind materials selection, in an effort to collect materials appropriate for the library’s own community, while being impartial and representative of all viewpoints.

Patrons or parents concerned with materials in their library’s collection are able to challenge materials. A library’s collection development policy should guide the process for challenges, reconsideration or withdrawal. Some libraries provide patrons with a paper or web form that can be completed and turned in to library staff. Others require the challenge be brought to the library or school board. While the public is welcome to challenge materials, withdrawal is rare, as it is likely the item was initially purchased in alignment with the library board’s policy. In some cases (e.g., for a children’s book including sensitive or mature topics) access may be restricted instead.

The Indiana State Library provides support and guidance to library staff in developing or revising their collection development policies and responding to challenges. Additionally, the Indiana Library Federation’s Legislative Advocacy and Intellectual Freedom Committees have been leaders in helping Indiana libraries face this year’s challenges. Hoosier librarians will continue to ensure there is something for everyone on Indiana library shelves.

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

‘Oceans of Possibilities’ – Summer reading 2022 news

As we head into the last few months of the year, it’s time to start planning for 2022 summer reading programs! The Collaborative Summer Library Program has chosen “Oceans of Possibilities” as its 2022 summer reading theme.

CSLP Membership
All Indiana public libraries are members of CSLP because the Indiana State Library pays the membership fee for the entire state using LSTA/IMLS funding. That means the slogan and artwork are available for libraries to use; however, individual libraries may decide whether they want to use the CSLP theme each year. The State Library also purchases access to the CSLP online catalog for all Indiana public libraries. The online catalog contains both the artwork for 2022 and program ideas that work with the “oceans” theme.

The online manual access code was sent to directors via email on Sept.15. If your director did not receive the code, please have them or their designee to contact me, Beth Yates, via email. View a tutorial here on how to access the manual. Currently available incentive items can be viewed in the online store.

The Theme
The oceanography theme creates, well, “Oceans of Possibilities” for programming. Here’s just a few general topics to get you started:

  • Ocean life – General ocean plants and animals, endangered animals, conservation.
  • History – Shipwrecks like the Titanic, explorers.
  • Geography – Maps, bodies of water.
  • Astronomy – Navigation/wayfinding, moon and tides.
  • Beaches – Summer fun, beach parties, sand and sandcastles, swimming and safety, the sun.
  • Geology/Paleontology – The fossil record shows Indiana was once underwater!
  • Weather – The water cycle connects us to oceans even in landlocked Indiana.
  • Jobs – Marine biologist, diving/SCUBA, ecologist, fishing, ship captain, lifeguard, geo scientist.

Don’t be afraid to include Indiana’s own lakes, rivers and parks. While they are certainly not oceans, the water cycle connects it all. And as always, it’s more important to offer programs your patrons will be interested in than it is to connect every program to the theme.

Indiana Training Opportunities
This year, I will be offering one webinar that contains news, updates and resources for the summer 2022 program. This webinar will be recorded and posted on the Indiana State Library’s Archived Training page within two weeks of the live session on Dec. 9, and it will be available there through the summer. Unlike in past years, this training will NOT include a roundtable discussion of program ideas. Roundtables will take place separately; all dates and times are listed below.

REGISTER:

National Training Opportunity
As the Collaborative Summer Library Program president-elect, membership committee chair and Indiana’s state representative, I am thrilled to announce that CSLP is offering our very first national, virtual summer reading conference!

The CSLP Summer Symposium will take place on Thursday, Dec. 2 from 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Eastern time. Session topics include program ideas, outreach ideas/community asset mapping and publicity ideas. You can attend any or all of the sessions FREE of charge using just one link, which you will be sent after you register. While “Oceans of Possibilities” will be a focus, all libraries are welcome, even if you don’t plan to use the 2022 CSLP theme. Sessions will be recorded and made available and will also be eligible for LEUs.

View the full session line up and descriptions on the CSLP Summer Symposium website. You can register from there, or via this link.

This blog post was written by Beth Yates, children’s consultant for the Indiana State Library.

Indiana State Library seeking libraries for passport program

The Indiana State Library is currently exploring the idea of a statewide library passport program. The program, with a tentative launch in 2022, will operate in a similar manner to the Passport To Your National Parks® program administered by America’s National Parks™, under its parent company, Eastern National, an official nonprofit education partner of the National Park Service.

The State Library wants to hear from libraries with a special space to share. Architecture, art, special collections, museums, statues and outdoor public spaces are just some of the features that would make the library an excellent place to visit. Ideally, these features should be accessible to the public without the need of a library card, as visitors will be encouraged to travel to each highlighted library.

Indiana libraries that are interested in the program are encouraged to fill out this Microsoft Form, letting the State Library know why guests should visit their library. All types of libraries are eligible for involvement, including public, academic and special libraries. Depending on the number of submissions, libraries may be included in a later iteration of the program. The form submission deadline is Oct. 31.

The program is subject to change at any time and will adhere to any potential COVID-19 restrictions.

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.

Get more from Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library Edition is the library version of Ancestry.com, which has one of the largest genealogy collections available online. Their database includes vital records, censuses, city directories and military and immigration records to name a few! Some of the library’s most popular collections are the digitized Indiana marriage certificates from 1960-2005, Indiana death certificates from 1899-2011 and Indiana birth certificates from 1907-1940. Records like these are a goldmine for those with Indiana ancestors.

Ancestry Library Edition is available for free on any of the Indiana State Library public computers. Currently – courtesy of ProQuest and Ancestry – it is also available to many public library cardholders from home until December 2021. Please note that this option is not available through your Indiana State Library card account, but if your public library subscribes to Ancestry Library Edition check with them about getting remote access while it lasts.

In addition to genealogical records, like the Indiana birth, marriage and death certificates, Ancestry also includes an abundant photograph collection to enrich your family history research. Photos bring family history to life and reveal details about our ancestors that we just can’t get from documents. Through pictures we can learn how an ancestor styled their hair, how they dressed, items they had in their home or what their hometown looked like. Here are a few of the unique photo collections you’ll find in the Ancestry catalog:

U.S., Historic Catalogs of Sears, Roebuck and Co., 1896-1993

If you like to imagine the various odds and ends that could have made their way into your ancestor’s home, look no further than “The U.S., Historic Catalogs of Sears, Roebuck and Co.” collection. You can page through these catalogs on Ancestry just like you were holding a print copy. With many of the catalogs containing over a thousand pages each, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon poring through them. Find bizarre products once sold to consumers, such as the deadly sounding “Arsenic Complexion Wafers” or the “Asbestos Stove Mat” for sale in the spring of 1897 catalog. These catalogs sold more than you could possibly imagine like clothing, tools, games, tableware, candy, houses and so much more!

Fall 1921

Because they were so expansive, the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogs are also helpful to date a photo of an ancestor. Flip to the women’s or menswear sections to explore fashions or housewares during certain years and look for similar styles to those represented in the picture.

U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999

Shortridge 1922

Ancestry is home to the world’s largest searchable online yearbook collection. With over 10,000 yearbooks, you are certain to find a photo of an ancestor included. You can also search for a favorite celebrity or flip through the yearbooks from a favorite era. Did you ever wonder what Indiana native John Mellencamp looked like in his high school yearbook photos? Search the collection for his name to find out!

Many of the yearbooks contain details that offer us a glimpse into our ancestor’s personalities. In this Shortridge Annual from 1922 Rezina Bond is described as, “A cute little girl with bobbed hair, who doesn’t like very much to go to school.” Like the Sears, Roebuck, and Co. catalogs, these images and details are useful for dating family photos. One advantage they have over the catalogs is they depict what people actually wore in a specific time and place, rather than the idealized fashions in catalogs.

U.S., Identification Card Files of Prohibition Agents, 1920-1925

Prohibition agents were responsible for enforcing the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages. Their duties included making investigations, arresting bootleggers, closing down speakeasies and breaking up liquor rackets. Sometimes their work even involved run-ins with organized crime.

The collection contains identification card files for prohibition agents, inspectors, warehouse agents, narcotics agents and more. Search for ancestors who worked as agents or browse through the collection to see the faces and names of the individuals who held these positions. Famous prohibition agents such as Isador Einstein and partner Moe Smith, who would wear over-the-top disguises like a gravedigger or opera singer, are represented in this collection.

Motion Picture Studio Directories, 1919 and 1921

1921 Motion Picture Studio Directory

If you are interested in silent film era history, or have an ancestor who worked in the business, the 1919 and 1921 Motion Picture Studio Directories are right up your alley. These directories don’t simply include actors, they also list directors, writers, cinematographers and more. Discover wonderful biographical details like addresses, birth dates, career summaries, physical description and skills. Learn more about your favorite Hoosier actors, such as Pomeroy Cannon from New Albany and Monte Blue from Indianapolis.

U.S., Historical Postcards, 1893-1960

This collection has over 115,000 historical postcards searchable by state, keyword or location. If you are interested to know what your ancestor’s hometown looked like during a certain time you can search here for a postcard of it. This is also an interesting collection to look for historical images of your own city or town. This postcard captures Washington Street, a few short blocks away from the Indiana State Library.

To access these collections and to explore everything Ancestry Library Edition has to offer, visit the card catalog. Hit the search field in the menu along the top of the homepage and select Card Catalog. From there, browse through the collections, use the search boxes or check out the new stuff featured on the page. Filter your results by collection types, locations or dates in the menu on the left side of the page. If you click on Pictures in the left menu, you’ll be taken to most of the collections I’m featuring in this blog post, in addition to the various other photo collections in Ancestry.

I hope you enjoy taking a trip back in time and explore these collections the next time you visit the Indiana State Library or at home while it lasts.

This blog post is by Dagny Villegas, Genealogy Division librarian.

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

The Indiana State Library is pleased to announce that it has received $3,471,810 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act to support libraries and library services in the State of Indiana. The Institute of Museum and Library Services distributed $178 million to state libraries, who were then tasked with putting the funds to good use. The Indiana State Library opted to put more than half of their allocation directly in public and academic libraries’ hands by awarding ARPA sub-grants.

This isn’t the first grant the State Library created in response to the COVID pandemic. Last year’s CARES Act mini-grants helped libraries to defray the unexpected expenses necessitated by the COVID pandemic: masks and plexiglass dividers, stanchions for curbside pick-up, additional e-books and streaming movies for the times the buildings were closed, etc. 335 mini-grants were awarded to the tune of more than $650,000. While CARES addressed immediate needs, ARPA grants ask libraries to look into the future and consider what they can do to welcome back and safely serve the public moving forward.

So, what does that look like? For many, that’s finding a way to increase remote and outdoor access to library services. Some libraries envisioned outdoor areas equipped with Wi-Fi and furnishings to allow people to access the internet even while the doors might be closed, or to offer safer, open-air venues for programming. Others hope for some sort of bookmobile or delivery vehicle to make home services a reality. Many see the value in remote locker systems that would allow the public to pick up library materials after hours or during closures with no staff interaction. There are projects that expand the technology infrastructure, projects revolving around easily sanitized furnishings and better HVAC systems, and projects centered on staff training for a post-pandemic reality. In total, we received 154 applications detailing projects costing anywhere from the $5,000 minimum to even more than the $100,000 maximum possible award.

Now begins the challenging task of reviewing each project and deciding how much to award. While the state library aims to offer at least some assistance for all eligible projects, more than $7 million dollars was requested against the $2.4 million dollars allocated for aid. Grants should be awarded in October – which means there might be some exciting things happening at your local library later this year and through 2022!

All questions regrading ARPA grants may be sent here. The State Library’s ARPA Grants for Indiana Libraries page offers more information on the grants.

This blog post was written by Angela Fox, LSTA grant consultant in the Library Development Office at the Indiana State Library.

Indiana’s Carnegie libraries

“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon this earth as the free public library.” -Andrew Carnegie

One of my favorite parts of my job as a regional coordinator at the Indiana State Library is traveling around to the public libraries of Northwest Indiana. Though I value and appreciate each and every unique library, Carnegie libraries have always been my favorite. It is for this reason that I chose to research Carnegie libraries of Indiana as one of my projects for my library master’s program. I hope you’ll appreciate the interesting history which I discovered during my research.

The state of Indiana received the greatest number of Carnegie library grants of any state. Between the years of 1901 to 1918, Indiana received a total of 156 Carnegie library grants, which allowed for the creation of 165 library buildings. Indiana received a total of over $2.6 million from the Carnegie Corporation. These library buildings were constructed from 1901 to 1922. Goshen received the first grant in 1901, and Lowell received the final grant in 1918. Additionally, Indiana was provided two academic libraries funded by Carnegie, at DePauw and Earlham. Indiana also has their own “Carnegie Hall” located at Moores Hill College. The Carnegie grants received by Indiana ranged in size from $5,000 given to Monterey – a community of under 1,000 residents – to $100,000 given to Indianapolis to construct five library branches. The year that the most Indiana Carnegie grants were given was 1913, wherein 19 grants totaling $202,500 were awarded. One thing Indiana can be proud of is that none of the communities receiving a Carnegie grant defaulted on their pledge to provide for the library building once it was initially constructed.1

Goshen Carnegie Library sign. Courtesy of Groundspeak, Inc.

“A. Carnegie.” 19 October 1912. Bain News Service. Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Prior to receiving grants from Andrew Carnegie, the public-funded township and county libraries in Indiana were “limited in literary selection, poorly housed and often meagerly staffed.”1 However, libraries were in high demand by literate, reading Hoosiers. The only public book collections in the state before 1880 were William Maclure funded Mechanic and Workingmen’s Libraries, and most Indiana counties had one. William Maclure was the first library philanthropist in Indiana, providing for 146 libraries in 89 counties by the year 1855.1 However, it is believed that without Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy, many of the smaller Indiana communities would have experienced long delays in establishing public libraries, or not even have had a public library at all. Andrew Carnegie was invited to many of the library building dedications in the state of Indiana, but he never attended any. Carnegie’s library grants ended the day that the United States entered World War I, on Nov. 7, 1917.1 The last Carnegie building to be completed in the state of Indiana was in 1922 at North Judson.1

While researching this topic, I came to wonder why the state of Indiana had so many Carnegie grants; more than any other state. Part of the reason is due to the variations in branch donations. Many communities, including Indianapolis, Gary, East Chicago and Evansville, received grants to divide up among multiple branches. Also, once Goshen received the first library grant – and the General Assembly passed the Mummert Library Law which permitted “local units of government to levy tax for the perpetuation and maintenance of all libraries built in Indiana by Mr. Carnegie”2 – other Indiana communities were able to secure Carnegie grants, while meeting Mr. Carnegie’s stipulations, with not as much tedious effort as Goshen. As more and more communities received Carnegie grants and constructed public library buildings, neighboring towns would take notice and then start the application process for their own Carnegie library grant. From the time period of 1900 to 1929, “a strong public library fervor rolled across Indiana.”1 At this time, Indiana became “culturally ready and geographically positioned for more libraries.”1 The Indiana Library Association began in 1891. Later, in 1899, a legislative act permitted towns to levy taxes for library purposes and also established the Public Library Commission.1 The Public Library Commission, in operation from 1899 to 1925, was paramount in assisting Indiana communities to apply for and secure library funding from Andrew Carnegie during what was known as the Carnegie Era. McPherson writes that “libraries were landmarks of public and private achievement and pride.” Hoosiers especially cherished libraries as “intellectual and democratic institutions that were ‘free to all.'” Women’s literary clubs also played an invaluable role in the amount of Carnegie libraries established in Indiana.1

Very few of the towns requesting grants from Andrew Carnegie were refused, as long as they agreed to his terms. However, there were still some Carnegie grant requests that were denied, and usually for administrative reasons. For example, Greenfield requested a Carnegie grant and received a response from James Bertam, Andrew Carnegie’s private secretary, stating that “A request for $30,000 to erect a library building for 5,000 people is so preposterous that Mr. Carnegie cannot give it any consideration.3

Most of the Carnegie funded libraries were designed to have a community meeting space on the main floor and the library’s book collection on the upper floor. In 1908, the Carnegie Corporation circulated a pamphlet called “Notes on the Erection of Library Buildings,” which standardized the design of Carnegie buildings “in order to prevent costly design errors.”1 Therefore, prior to 1908 when library boards had more leeway on building design and spending, “the more grandiose and elegant building were constructed.”1 Carnegie emphasized simplicity, functionality and practicality in order “to reduce wasteful spending of the earlier years” and in turn had the final sign-off on any architectural plans.1 An Indianapolis architect, Wilson B. Parker, designed over 20 of the Carnegie funded libraries in Indiana, more than any architect of Carnegie libraries in the state. The most widely used architectural styles of the Indiana Carnegie library buildings were the Neoclassic Greek and Roman style and the Craftsman-Prairie Tradition style. The buildings were normally constructed along or near the main street of town, where community members were likely to gather. Intentionally built with steps, Carnegie libraries encouraged “patrons to ‘step up’ intellectually when they walked up the main entryway, entering ‘higher ground’ through the temple like portal into the rooms of knowledge.”1 Once a Carnegie building was completed, the community would hold a dedication, especially around a holiday. Many of Indiana’s Carnegie library buildings have been added to The National Register of Historic Places, as well as the Indiana State Register of Historic Sites and Structures.

Corydon Carnegie Library, 2006. Courtesy of Indiana Landmarks. Accessed through Indiana Memory Database.

As a strong testament to the lasting legacy of Andrew Carnegie, 100 of the original 164 buildings are still in use as libraries today. Many have been renovated or have additions, but continue to serve the community out of at least some part of or all of the original Carnegie funded library building. The buildings not currently serving as libraries have a wide array of purposes, including two restaurants, six town or city halls, museums, three historical societies, four art galleries, condos, a police station, a fraternity headquarters, courthouse, a church, private residences and various commercial offices such as real estate, law and an architectural firm. Sadly, 18 of the original Carnegie library buildings in Indiana have been destroyed through the years; one by the tornado of 1948, three by fire and the rest demolished or razed. Click here to see a list of Indiana’s Carnegie libraries and their current status.

Coatesville Library Destruction from 1948 Tornado. Courtesy of Coatesville-Clay Township Public Library.

Woody’s Library Restaurant, present day. Courtesy of Woody’s Library Restaurant.

Sources
1. McPherson, Alan. “Temples of Knowledge: Andrew Carnegie’s Gift To Indiana.” Indiana: Hoosier’s Nest Press, 2003.

2.Goshen Public Library Beginnings,” retrieved form the Goshen Public Library website.

3. Bobinski, George S. “Carnegie Libraries: Their History and Impact on American Public Library Development”. ALA Bulletin, 62.11 (1968):1361-1367.

Carnegies 2009 Update.” Indiana State Library. 6 June 2012.

Indiana’s Carnegie Libraries website, created by Laura Jones.

Submitted by Laura Jones, Northwest regional coordinator, Indiana State Library.