Changes for the ISL’s tech kits!

New year, new us! The Indiana State Library has changed the checkout requirements for our circulating technology kits for the new year. Starting this month, the Maker Space and Robots Kits can now be used in patron programming! Libraries that would like to check out the Maker Space or Robot Kits just need to complete an online Moodle course before reserving the kit. This course can be taken at your own pace, is worth two TLEUs and must be completed before a scheduled kit drop-off. You can find these courses on the Professional Development Office’s Moodle page. The kits can be checked out for three weeks.

The kits have also been reorganized to reflect the following contents:

Maker Space KitLittleBits
Snap Circuits Light
Snap Circuits Sound
Makey Makey
CreoPop 3D Pen
Discover Electronics Kit
EVO VR Headset
Legos

Robot Kit #1Lego WeDo
Wonder Dash
Sphero Ollie
Sphero SPRK
Cubelets
LittleBits Arduino Kit

Robot Kit #2Two of each:
Lego Wedo
Wonder Dash
Sphero Ollie
Sphero SPRK
Cubelets

To reserve a kit, please contact your regional coordinator. Contact information can be found here.

This blog post was written by Courtney Brown, southeast regional coordinator, Indiana State Library.

Dick Wolfsie learns about Indiana Voices at the Indiana State Library

Recently, Emmy Award-winner Dick Wolfsie of WISH-TV stopped by the Indiana State Library to learn more about the Indiana Voices program. He met with Indiana Voices studio director, Linden Coffman, to get a basic understanding of what Indiana Voices is and how the program works. While he was here, he also met two recording studio volunteers, Nelson Goud and Stuart Remali, to see what it is like to be a volunteer in the recording studio for Indiana Voices. Watch the videos and check out some pictures from his visit below.

The Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library provides library service to Indiana residents who cannot use standard printed materials due to a visual or physical disability. Indiana Voices is a program within the Talking Book Library that focuses on recording books by Indiana authors or with another Indiana connection that otherwise would not be available in an accessible format.

Watch WISH-TV’s news segment videos here.

For eligibility requirements and applications for the Talking Book program, please visit the Talking Book and Braille website, email us or call us at 1-800-622-4970.

This blog post was written by Maggie Ansty of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. 

 

Even on vacation; the Central Library of the Austin Public Library system

Most people don’t want to think about work when they’re on vacation. After all, that’s kind of the point of going on vacation. After attending the 2017 Library and Marketing Communications Conference in Dallas on Nov. 16 and 17, I decided to take a short road trip to Austin, Texas to round out the week. I hadn’t been on vacation in years, so taking a three-day jaunt to a highly-praised and boisterous city, with no set-in-stone agenda, seemed like a good way to relax and unwind; especially after all of the usual to-the-minute schedule wrangling that comes with attending a conference.

Austin is a very friendly city. In fact, a lot of restaurants and cafes there have community seating, which is fairly uncommon in Indiana. Basically, if you don’t want to wait 15 to 20 minutes for a table, you can sit with strangers. On Saturday morning, I had breakfast at the Bouldin Creek Cafe and chose the community seating option. I had a nice hour-long breakfast conversation with complete strangers and once I mentioned that I worked in a library I heard, for the first of many times, “You have to see the new library downtown!” I already knew I wanted to visit Barton Springs, Zilker Park, various record stores, specific music venues, McKinney Falls State Park and as many restaurants as possible, so did I want to visit a library, a place where I spend five days a week, especially right after a two-day library-related conference? Of course I did. I penciled in some time Sunday morning and hoped for the best.

Central Library of the Austin Public Library system

The Central Library of the Austin Public Library system opened less than three weeks earlier, on Oct. 28, 2017, and did not disappoint. The library is located in the Seaholm EcoDistrict on César Chávez St. downtown. In addition to the Central Library, the Austin Public Library system consists of 20 branches, a mobile library, two bookstores and a history center. Not unlike the Indianapolis Public Library’s (IndyPL) Central Branch here, “the Central Library serves as the backbone of the Austin Public Library system.” A recent article from UT News praised the new Central Library in Austin as an example of the library of the future and it’s easy to see why. According to UT News, “In some respects, it is the library of the future and will meet a multitude of needs including shared learning spaces, the technology petting zoo, the innovation lounge, the children’s creative commons and the reading porches. In a nutshell, libraries must rebrand themselves as technology-rich learning centers.”

Welcome!

The library itself is amazing. If libraries need to rebrand themselves as technology-rich learning centers, then the Central Library in Austin is doing a tremendous job. Obviously, I knew I was walking into a library, but it didn’t feel like a library. It felt like more than a library. The six-story building has an open design, not unlike IndyPL’s Central Branch, and, of course, there are shelves of books, but most libraries do not have digital concierges greeting you as you walk in. The library is replete with this kind of technology and includes several stations where patrons can check out, for two hours at a time, laptops and tablets, including Chromebooks, iPads and MacBook Airs. The Shared Learning Rooms have video conferencing ability, via Google Hangouts, and are even set up to connect Apple devices to TV screens via AirPlay. All of this is in addition to the aforementioned technology petting zoo, the innovation lounge and the children’s creative commons and it’s all free-of-charge, of course.

Check out these MacBook Airs… literally.

In addition to the technology on display, the library also does a fantastic job of representing the humanities. The art exhibit area, dubbed The Gallery, “features rotating art displays from local and national artists.” This area is part of what makes Austin’s Central Library feel like more than a library. At this library, patrons can check out books about fine art and also see an entire fine art exhibit. This allows patrons from all walks of life to enjoy a museum-like experience.

The Gallery

Also striking is the massive art piece created by international artist Christian Moeller. The piece, titled CAW, is “a 37-foot-tall kinetic sculpture resembling a gigantic cuckoo clock overtaken by blackbirds.” My first thought was that this piece was strictly influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, as it consists of blackbirds and a pendulum. While Poe’s “The Raven,” was an influence, the piece also drew inspiration from Greek god Apollo and Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” Overall, it’s a representation of the blackbird’s presence and influence in art, literature and mythology. In this video, recently recorded at the Central Library, Moeller discusses his influences and how he created the piece.

CAW by Christian Moeller. Look to the left; that’s a person.

Finally, my favorite part of the library: The rooftop garden. The sixth floor of the library hosts the Roof Garden, which offers stunning views of the city of Austin. The space is phenomenal and really gives one a sense of “hanging out,” which is very important, especially in light of the preconceived notions people might have about libraries. There is nothing musty about the garden area and no one will “shush” you. Of course, people were posing for pictures, enjoying the plants and just admiring the view, but patrons were also reading books, working on their computers, using the checked out tablets and having small meetings. This space really ties together everything the library has to offer and shows why the Central Library of the Austin Public Library is indeed a library of the future.

The Roof Garden, enjoyed by all.

So, next time you think you might not want to mix work with vacation, I urge you to reconsider. At the very least, if you don’t work in a library, I highly recommend putting a library visit on your vacation agenda. A lot of libraries even offer tours. You can learn how to set up a tour of the Central Library in Austin here and you can also tour the Indiana State Library by following the instructions posted here. Now, which library to visit next?

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

How to approach a library employee who may have an invisible disability

Most guidance on employer communication with an employee about a disability starts from the premise that the employee has requested accommodation and the employer needs more information in order to provide appropriate accommodations. An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance document states that an employer may ask for disability-related information, including information about psychiatric disability, when the employer has a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that an employee’s ability to perform essential job functions is impaired by a medical condition. However, best practices suggest focusing on performance or behavior (i.e., what is happening) rather than trying to determine the underlying cause (i.e., why it is happening) because an employee without a disability may have a cause of action under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if evidence shows that the employer perceived the employee as having a disability.When the employee self-identifies a mental disability – follow the ADA
The ADA applies to local public libraries. The ADA, Title I, prohibits an employer from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, job assignments, pay, benefits, job training and other employment practices. The employer must provide reasonable accommodation for a known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an “undue hardship” on library operations.

Does the employee have a mental impairment under ADA?
The ADA defines “mental impairment” to include “[a]ny mental or psychological disorder, such as… emotional or mental illness.” Examples of “emotional or mental illness” include major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders (e.g., panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder), schizophrenia and personality disorders.

To be considered a disability under the ADA, an impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities. An impairment is substantially limiting if it lasts for more than several months and significantly restricts the performance of one or more major life activities during that time.

Interacting with others is considered a major life activity. An individual’s ability to interact with others is substantially limited if, over the long term, due to the impairment, he or she is significantly restricted as compared to the average person in the general population.  Some unfriendliness with co-workers or a supervisor would not, standing alone, be sufficient to establish a substantial limitation in interacting with others. An individual would be substantially limited, however, if his or her relations with others were characterized on a regular basis by severe problems; for example, consistently high levels of hostility, social withdrawal or failure to communicate when necessary.

Confidentiality
Employers must keep all information concerning medical history of employees, including information about psychiatric disability, confidential under the ADA. This includes medical information that an individual voluntarily tells his or her employer. A limited exception to the ADA confidentiality requirements allows you to tell supervisors and managers about necessary restrictions on the work or duties of the employee and about necessary accommodations.

If other employees ask questions about a coworker who has a disability, the employer must not disclose any medical information in response. Nor can the employer tell other employees it is providing a reasonable accommodation for a particular individual, as that discloses the existence of a disability. In response to coworker questions, an employer may explain it is acting for legitimate business reasons or in compliance with federal law.

Reasonable accommodations
An employer must provide a reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified individual with a disability unless it can show that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship. Reasonable accommodations might include modifying the person’s work schedule, modifying certain non-essential policies with regard to the employee or adjusting the level or type of supervision provided to allow a more helpful structure. Reassignment may be considered as a reasonable accommodation under some circumstances.

When the employee has not self-identified a mental disability – focus on job performance
From a legal standpoint, an employee thought to have a mental disability must be treated like any other worker. You must focus on the individual’s job performance and behavior without making assumptions about underlying medical conditions or trying to diagnose the person. Approach conversations with the legitimate goal of finding the best fit between people and jobs, independent of the possibility of a psychiatric disorder.

Questions you can ask include:

  • Is there anything you need to be able to keep doing your job?
  • How can we support you in improving your job performance?
  • How can we help you become more effective in your job?
  • Is there anything preventing you from performing your job?

When you hold a conversation based on job performance, the employee may reveal the existence of a disability or condition covered by the ADA. The employee doesn’t need to identify the specific diagnosis, refer specifically to the ADA, or use the term “accommodations” in order for ADA protections to kick in. If an employee says “I have a condition and I need time off to get it under control” or to “regulate my meds” that is enough to be considered a request for accommodations under the ADA. The employer may then ask for reasonable documentation concerning the employee’s disability and functional limitations.

Some employees will choose not to disclose a disability. Other useful information, not related to a disability, may also surface in response to questions about job performance.

Employees may be more likely to disclose their needs, if not the diagnosis, if they know about your nondiscrimination policy and what will happen if they ask for an accommodation.

A library specific example from EEOC guidance
A reference librarian frequently loses her temper at work, disrupting the library atmosphere by shouting at patrons and co-workers. After receiving a suspension as the second step in uniform, progressive discipline, she discloses her disability, states that it causes her behavior and requests a leave of absence for treatment. The employer may discipline her because she violated a conduct standard – a rule prohibiting disruptive behavior towards patrons and coworkers – that is job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity. The employer, however, must grant her request for a leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation, barring undue hardship, to enable her to meet this conduct standard in the future.

EAP referrals
If your employees have access to an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) you may want to refer the employee to the EAP. Be careful to word the referral in terms of “discussing workplace problems.” Do not refer the employee for “counseling” or for “personal problems” as this type of referral suggests you believe there may be a disability. The EAP can broaden the focus to disability related issues without the liability that you, as an employer, could potentially face under the ADA.

If you have additional questions specific to this situation I encourage you to contact your library’s attorney.

Resources:
EEOC Enforcement Guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act and Psychiatric Disabilities
Human Resource Executive On Line
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a free consulting service from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy providing individualized workplace accommodation solutions, as well as information on the ADA and services related to employment for people with disabilities. Call 1-800-526-7234 (V) or 1-877-781-9403 (TTY) for more information.

This blog post was written by Cheri Harris, certification program director/legal consultant, Indiana State Library. Cheri can be reached by email.

SDC recap and the origin of the Public Library Annual Report questions

If you’ve had the “pleasure” of filling out the Public Library Annual Report on behalf of your library, you know it can feel like every question that could ever be asked about your library, short of carpet colors, is included. Weighing in at around 800 questions, it’s easy to assume that questions are added indiscriminately; easy, but wrong.

Turns out, those questions have been argued about, agonized over and analyzed down to the syllable. Discussions of semantics and statistics are at the heart of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Annual Meeting of State Data Coordinators (SDCs). For three days, SDCs from each state and American territory are invited to discuss the process and methodology behind the Annual Report in an attempt to maximize the value of the survey.

Functional and decorative; a tiny sample of notes from sub-group meetings

This year’s meeting of minds took place December 5th – 7th in sunny Phoenix – except it wasn’t all that sunny. The home-state SDC was more than happy to let the visitors know that the streak of 100-plus rain-free days ended with our arrival. After kicking off with a morning session aimed exclusively at SDCs hired within the last year, the meeting began in earnest with the afternoon arrival of the remaining SDCs. Introductions made and pens and laptops at the ready, the group settled in to listen to updates about the survey collection tool and forthcoming data element reviews.

And what reviews they were. From the 8 a.m. working breakfast straight through until 5 p.m. quitting time, breakout groups discussed problematic data elements. “Is it accurate? Is it relevant?” became our mantra. We threw back the coffee. What was unique about the data each question generated? Was it clearly understood? Was there more coffee? Did this question generate information used by librarians and stakeholders? Is there seriously only decaf left right now? Were we collecting what we thought we were? How is decaf supposed to help us get through this? When the dust cleared, we were left with mountains of compiled notes and a plan of attack for those who would ultimately decide which elements remained, which were eliminated and which needed tweaked.

Because our libraries are evolving, our survey needs to evolve to reflect the changing services. The SDC meeting is a direct response to the challenge. Those 800 questions aren’t as static as they first appear, we promise. Might I suggest coffee to help you get through it?

This blog post was written by Angela Fox, LSTA and federal projects consultant, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Library Development Office at (800) 451-6028, or via email.

Armed Services Editions @ ISL

Providing recreational and entertainment outlets for American servicemen overseas was a paramount concern during World War II. The United Services Organization (USO) is perhaps the most well-known and enduring of these endeavors, supplying troops with live shows and revues performed by major Hollywood celebrities. Less famous but equally as important was the work of The Council on Books in Wartime, an organization formed by booksellers, publishers, authors and libraries whose main focus was to supply reading materials to troops. Americans happily donated books to the cause in numerous community book drives, but most books in the 1940s were heavy large hardcovers and could not be transported easily by troops. To remedy this, the council took bestselling books and fashioned them into a paperback format dubbed Armed Services Editions, which were distributed free of charge to servicemen. These books were purposefully designed to be small and flexible enough to fit into cargo pockets. The program was incredibly successful and paved the way for the rise of paperbacks as a popular and inexpensive book format in the post-war era.

Despite being manufactured by cheap materials, many Armed Services Editions survived the war and are now highly collectible. The Library of Congress has all 1,322 titles that were produced. Here at the Indiana State Library, we have three in our collection that represent works by Indiana authors.

“Here is Your War” by Ernie Pyle. This photo shows the size difference between the original version of the book and the Armed Services Edition.

“Little Orvie” by Booth Tarkington.

“Our Hearts were Young and Gay” by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough.

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.”

The library as an incubator

There may have been a time when some might have scoffed at the idea of a library as a creator and not simply a neutral curator. Thankfully, that time is long past and one can take a look at public libraries across Indiana and see the visible change.

The most noticeable change in libraries has been physical. Many libraries across the state have already begun to renovate their spaces to accommodate more small meeting space and multi-use public space. Technology and electronic resources have also had a visible impact on these newly renovated physical spaces that serve not only as locations for learning and creative expression, but also as co-working spaces which blend commercial and creative output.

Here are just a few of the Hoosier public libraries who are promoting library creation and innovation:

Studio 304 Digital Media Lab | St. Joseph Co. Public Library

Studio 304 is equipped with tools and technology to create and produce in print, video and audio formats. The studio is designed for patrons 14 and older to inspire digital creativity.  The space features audio and video recording booths, as well as software and equipment for video and audio editing. The library even offers AV recording equipment for check-out for off-site use. Since opening, the space has been used to record a full length album and audio book. It’s relaxed atmosphere also makes it an ideal location for small meetings.

Digital Underground | Bartholomew County Public Library

The Digital Underground has given patrons access to a wide variety of digital creativity tools; tools that empower patrons to express their creativity in many different ways.  Record a song using the digital recording studio, create some album art using Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator and finish up by recording a music video using the green screen.  The sky is the limit as far as what you can do with the space and tools provided.

Level Up | Monroe County Public Library

Level Up is an all ages space that includes a video production studio with green screen, two audio production studios and digital creativity workstations for design, coding and editing. Level Up is a place for video and music production, graphic and web design and coding and game creation.

TekVenture | Allen County Public Library

TekVenture is somewhat special in that it was an independent organization before the Allen County Public Library gave it space to operate in a trailer, known as Maker Station, located across the street from the main library. Through this partnership, the makerspace was given a home to store equipment and tinker, and the library was provided access to members’ expertise and willingness to assist with programs. As this partnership grew, so did the organization and, even though their partnership continues to influence libraries across the globe, the organization has been housed in their own permanent downtown facility since 2015. When TekVenture was able to move to their own facility, Allen County Public Library was able to launch their own Maker Lab which is housed at the downtown branch. They also offer a satellite location at the Georgetown branch.

Haute Create | Vigo County Public Library

Haute Create is a dedicated space that offers access to state of the art technologies and innovative tools at the main branch of the Vigo County Public Library.

The space includes access to 3-D printers and a 3-D scanner; a wide-format printer; equipment for electronics and robotics work; a 75-inch SmartTV that allows for computers and software instruction for up to 12 people and other hardware and software tools which customers can use to create and explore.

The Portal | Tippecanoe County Public Library

Opened in 2012, Tippecanoe County Library’s Portal is a technology-rich center for learning, research, training, collaboration and content production. Visitors enjoy open space equipped with a combination of PCs, laptops and tablets. Patrons can use the space for digital creativity, or even as a co-working space.

The space also includes an audio/video conference suite, video recording equipment with green screen technology and equipment that allows one to preserve slides. Additionally, the Portal contains a language learning suite equipped with headphones and microphones for learning, listening and practicing foreign languages such as French, German and Japanese.

As libraries continue this trend, they will become synonymous with creation and innovation and not just curation. Indiana libraries are already well on their way.

This blog post was written by Amber Painter, southwest regional coordinator. For more information, contact the Professional Development Office (PDO) at (317) 232-3697 or via email.  

Recent acquisition: Local abstract art and papers of Barbara Stahl

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Division recently acquired a collection of drawings, photographic prints and personal papers from notable Indianapolis artist, Barbara Stahl. The collection will continue to grow and be available for public viewing after processing is complete.

Barbara Stahl portrait, 2000

A native of Vincennes, Indiana, Stahl moved to Indianapolis in 1992 after receiving her MFA in painting from the University of Pennsylvania. Stahl is the founder and owner of Stahl Studios Inc., which specializes in commercial and public art. She is well-known for her Indiana Pacers schedule wall near Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the commemorative Super Bowl XLVI art project “Morning Magnolias” mural along the White River Canal.

Barbara Stahl, Morning Magnolias mural, 2012 Image Source: http://magazine.iupui.edu/12Spring/impact/46forXLVI.shtml

The Barbara Stahl collection is the first donation of abstract work by a female artist to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division. It comprises over four cubic feet of material, including clippings, photographs, undergraduate artwork slides, wax paintings on wood panels, screen and intaglio prints, charcoal drawings and mud paintings completed in Belize. Her 2014-2015 “Tiny III” artwork is pictured below.

The Indiana State Library Foundation recently purchased “Consciousness Rising,” a large-scale oil painting from her 2017 “Skybridge” series. The painting is on permanent display at the library and can be viewed during regular business hours.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Professional conferences – There’s an app for that!

Professional conferences are a great way to refresh, get inspiration, meet new people and see new places and things. In graduate school I attended my first professional library conference and was totally lost. Which sessions should I attend? How do I figure out this big bulky book that has anything and everything I ever wanted to know about the conference in it? What is the exhibitor’s hall and why should I care? I was so overwhelmed! Twenty eight years later – conferences haven’t fundamentally changed.  You still need to bring the essentials: a sweater, refillable water bottle and comfortable shoes. But what is relatively new is the conference app! They are amazing! No more carrying that big bulky book or tearing out pages – yeah! This year’s ALA Annual Conference was my first time using a conference app.

With this app you could view exhibitor information, contact information and location of their booth, all easily accessible. It also included a floor plan of the exhibit floor. You could also browse the speakers, poster presenters and other attendees. Forget your business cards? No problem! Each attendees’ badge had a QR code so you could scan other attendees’ badges with their QR code when making connections. And you could also send messages to other app users. The app would also send alerts and updates for the conference right to the app.

Best of all, you could create a personal schedule by starring the sessions you planned to attend. You could see exactly what you want to attend, what time and where the session located. Having back up sessions starred was a must just in case the session you wanted to attend was full. Presenter’s slide presentations were also available on the app. You could draw on presentation slides, highlight text and take notes. It was even better if you had the conference app on a tablet or iPad.

The upcoming Indiana Library Federation Annual Conference on Nov. 13-15 also has an app. Search the Google Play or Apple App stores for “2017 ILF Annual Conference” to download this app. Like the ALA conference app, it also includes links to attendees, favorites, notes, schedule, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, interactive map and more!

Want to learn how to get even more out of attending conferences? Be sure to sign up for this upcoming webinar: It’s Not Just Packing a Cardigan: How to Attend a Conference to Get the Most out of Your Experience on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 from 9:30 to 10:30 am, EST. No LEUs will be offered, but we still hope this is a great event to get ready for all the library conferences!

This blog post was written by Paula Newcom, northeast regional coordinator, Indiana State LibraryFor more information, contact the Professional Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or email.

What do the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library and the popular book series “Outlander” have in common?

Would you like to learn more about your ancestral heritage? Do you think you might be of Scottish descent? Are you more than slightly intrigued with the popular historical fiction book series “Outlander,” a time-travelling series that commences in the Scottish Highlands in the years 1743 and 1946 and written by author Diana Gabaldon?  Did you know that Gabaldon included many real-life historical people in her book series? The start of season three of the hit TV show “Outlander” will air on Starz on Sept. 10, 2017 and will closely follow the third book, “Voyager,” so now is a great time to do some research.

Come visit us in the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library and dig into your own Scottish genealogical heritage. You might also want to come and research the many historical figures woven into the “Outlander” books. Who knows? You might find that you have Scottish Highland ancestors who fought in the last Jacobite Uprising of 1745 that culminated at the Battle of Culloden in April of 1746. The Jacobites were strong supporters of the Catholic Prince Charles Stuart monarchy. They were fighting to restore the House of Stuart to the British throne, then controlled by the Protestants in England. 1,500-2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded on the moors of Culloden in the Scottish Highlands in a massacre that was concluded in less than an hour.

In our Genealogy Collection, I recently discovered the beautiful family tree of William Cumming and Sarah Coppage. Underneath their names and family crest it reads:

“Born in Inverness about 1725, made a prisoner at the Battle of Culloden, reached Maryland the year thereafter, married Sarah Coppage, of an old Eastern Shore family, who died in 1765, became a large landed proprietor in Frederick County, and died near the end of March, 1793, at his home in the Linganore Hills.” From William Cumming ~ Sarah Coppage Family Tree

Cumming family crest and motto

One can only imagine my surprise at discovering this family tree in our Genealogy Collection, as I’m a loyal follower of the “Outlander” books and television show where the Battle of Culloden figures heavily in the second and third books of the series. In the first book of this series, “Outlander,” it is 1946 and one of the main characters, Claire Randall, unknowingly “goes through” an ancient stone circle in the Scottish Highlands and is transported back in time to the year 1743 where soon thereafter, in order to save her life, she very reluctantly marries James (Jamie) Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. In time, she learns to love Jamie but on the cusp of the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Jamie takes his now pregnant wife, Claire, to the stone circle and makes her return to her own time, because he believes he will die on the battlefield.

Forward to the second book, “Dragonfly in Amber,” in 1968 and Claire and Brianna, her daughter with Jamie, are in Scotland piecing together genealogical records to ascertain who survived the Battle of Culloden. They are mainly searching for information about the character, Jamie Fraser, Claire’s love, who fought in this battle and was thought to have died alongside his clansmen.

Much to Claire’s surprise and shock, her research shows that Jamie was not killed on the battlefield as she had believed for the past twenty years. Thus, in the third book, “Voyager,” they conduct a deeper genealogical search into what became of Jamie Fraser. Through diligent work, Claire and Brianna discover that Jamie was imprisoned as a traitor to King George II of England, along with many other Highlanders after the Battle of Culloden. Further, they find a newspaper article written by A. Malcolm, one of Jamie’s pseudonyms, and printed in 1765, Edinburgh, Scotland. With agonizing deliberation, Claire decides to return to the stone circle to be transported back to 1765 Edinburgh in hopes of finding Jamie. This sets the beginning of the book, “Voyager” and the upcoming season three of the TV show, “Outlander.” By the end of “Voyager,” Jamie and Claire have landed on the shores of the American Colony of Georgia in the year 1767. They eventually settle in the colony of North Carolina and later in subsequent books, they become involved in the American Revolution. Not surprisingly, many of our Scottish ancestors arrived in America under similar circumstances.

So, let’s take a look at Scottish emigration to America.

“Scottish immigration to the Americas during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries tended to be spasmodic and generally small-scale, with certain notable exceptions. These exceptions consisted of several attempts to establish independent Scottish colonies, and, on several occasions, the mass transportation of political prisoners.”1 History has shown that after 1747, around 1,600 men, women and children were put on ships to the colonies in America as indentured servants. William Cumming, whose family tree was noted previously, was one of these political prisoners sent to the American colony of Maryland.

The earliest known Scottish emigration to America dates to Colonial times around 1650.

“There seems to have been a continuous trickle of emigrants across the Atlantic from the mid-seventeenth century onwards to staff the tobacco warehouses in Virginia… or as felons banished to the Plantations. Economic forces generally determined emigrant routes from Scotland: Ships sailed to Georgia and the Carolinas for cotton and rice, to the Chesapeake for tobacco, to the Canadian Maritimes for timber and carried with them innumerable emigrants, many as indentured servants.”2

The Scottish people left their homeland mainly for economic, religious and political reasons.

“If the origins of your Scottish ancestors are unclear, no matter where they went, you can draw useful insights from accounts of migration to the area where first they settled. It is extremely important that you identify the ancestor(s) who made the trip, but almost as important is an understanding of the context of their migration. Knowing the place of first settlement is particularly important because its history may offer clues about the region, perhaps even the parish, of birth.”3

Back to William Cumming: In 1775 he served as a private in the Maryland Line of the Continental Army, defending his new homeland, America, against the British Soldiers and Loyalists in the American Revolution. The Maryland Line was a formation in the Continental Army. It was formed and authorized by the Second Continental Congress which met in Philadelphia, June 1775. William Cumming received a land grant for his service as a Patriot.

At the Indiana State Library, we have hundreds of books, maps, microfilm and resources available to research your Scottish ancestors and/or research and learn more about the historical characters of the “Outlander” series. We can show you how and where to locate genealogical information about your ancestors worldwide, not just in Indiana. Come in and let your origins catch up to you!

Some obvious and “not-so-obvious” historical people in the “Outlander” book series:

Prince Charles Stuart: Charles Edward Casimir Maria Sylvester Stuart, the Young Pretender, son of the Old Pretender, James III of Scotland, VIII of England. Heir to the exiled Catholic royal dynasty.
James Stuart: The Old Pretender, James III of Scotland, VIII of England. Exiled Catholic monarch.
Simon Fraser: Lord Lovat, The Old Fox
Simon Fraser: Lord Lovat, the Young Fox
Flora MacDonald: Helped Prince Charles Stuart escape from Scotland to France after the Battle of Culloden.
Farquhar (Farquard) Campbell: Highlander who immigrated to the American Colony of North Carolina.
Archibald Bug: Highlander who immigrated to the American Colonies. Presented a petition for Patent of Land, 320 acres in North Carolina, 1740.
Clanranald: A prominent Jacobite chief.
George II: King of England
George III: King of England
Comte St. Germain: A member of the French Court; a noble with a reputation for dabbling in the occult. Charles Stuart’s business partner.
Lord Kilmarnock: One of the Jacobite earls, later executed for treason.
Louis XV: King of France
Duke of Perth: A commander in Prince Charles Stuart’s army.

There’s so much more to genealogy than names, places and vital statistics. Once this general information is known about an ancestor, then it’s time to “dig into” their lives. It can be fun and very interesting to learn about the history of the time period and the places your ancestors may have lived as well as the historical events in which they may have participated. Delving into your cultural heritage might shed some light on a family custom or heirloom that has been passed down through time. Once ancestors have been traced back to when and where they departed to America, the reasons for emigrating can be studied and give a fuller picture of your ancestor’s life, and consequently, yours, also.

Learning about the “rest of the story” can practically bring one’s ancestors to life!

This blog post was written by Alice Winslow, librarian, Genealogy Division. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library Genealogy Division at (317) 232-3689 or email awinslow@library.in.gov.

1. Dobson, David. “Directory of Scots Banished to the American Plantations, 1650-1775.” Baltimore, MD. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1983.

2. Dobson, David. “Ships from Scotland to America, 1628-1828.” Baltimore, MD. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 2004.

3. Irvine, Sherry. “Scottish Ancestry: Research Methods for Family Historians.” Provo, UT. Ancestry. 2003