Dr. Eliza Atkins Gleason: Librarian and scholar

Dr. Eliza Atkins Gleason, librarian, dean and professor of library science, was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in library science.

Gleason was born in 1909 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and received her undergraduate degree from Fisk University in 1930. Gleason furthered her education by earning a Bachelor of Library Science from the University of Illinois in 1931 and a Master of Library Science  from the University of California – Berkley in 1935.

Gleason began her library career as a librarian at Fisk University. She later worked in Louisville, Kentucky as a librarian at the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes, currently known as Simmons College of Kentucky. She also worked at Talladega College in Alabama.

In 1940, Gleason received her doctorate degree in library science from the University of Chicago. Her dissertation was “The Southern Negro and the Public Library.” She later published her dissertation in 1941 as a book, which the Indiana State Library is fortunate to have in its collection.

“The Southern Negro and the Public Library” by Eliza Atkins Gleason ISLM 027.6 G554

She served as the dean of the Atlanta University Library Science Program from 1941-46. After that, she worked at the Chicago Public Library, Chicago Teachers College, Woodrow Wilson Junior College, Illinois Teachers College and the Illinois Institute of Technology. She also taught library science courses at Northern Illinois University.

Gleason passed away on Dec. 15, 2009 at the age of 100.

The ALA Library History Round Table has a research award named in her honor, The Eliza Atkins Gleason Book Award. This award is given every three years for the best books written about library history:

Gleason was inducted into the University of Louisville’s College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Honor in 2010. A video of the ceremony is available on YouTube.

This blog post was written by Michele Fenton, monographs and federal documents catalog librarian.

INLLA participant Erin Cataldi strives to improve teen engagement

Every two years, the Indiana State Library hosts the Indiana Library Leadership Academy program for up-and-coming librarians in the field. Librarians across the state, and from a variety of library backgrounds, apply to attend INLLA. Each librarian is chosen based on the responses and project proposals submitted with their application. The participants selected, along with their coaches, spend four days learning about the qualities of leadership and, specifically, how those leadership qualities translate to the library profession. During the most recent INLLA, facilitator and author Cathy Hakala-Ausperk, of Libraries Thrive Consulting, contributed her expertise by sharing aspects of her library experience and talking about what it takes to be a leader.

Beginning with the four-day retreat, INLLA is a two-year commitment culminating in the completion of the projects that the participants designed to improve, enhance or strengthen some aspect of their library or community.

Pictured are Erin Cataldi, Stacey Kern and Raenell Smith at the Kwame Alexander author event held at Clark Pleasant Middle School.

INLLA participant Erin Cataldi, teen and adult reference librarian at the Clark Pleasant branch of the Johnson County Public Library, wanted to increase teen engagement in her library. She realized that reaching teenagers in a mostly residential community can be hard and that there aren’t a lot of spaces for them to congregate and hang out. She wanted to improve the teen “space” in the library to become more inviting and to be used by its intended audience – teens.

One of Erin’s innovative programs: a Harry Potter escape room at Clark Pleasant branch.

Erin wanted to begin this process by offering more innovative programming to get the teens used to coming in to the library. She also wanted to revamp the teen space to make it more appealing to teens. Her approach was to work with local businesses and organizations to offer ongoing passive programs at all times in the teen space. She also decided that working more closely with the local schools to promote the library would be a good way to let teens know that the library is a safe place to meet up, hang out, study and create.

Currently, Erin doesn’t have control over the teen space due to the size of the existing building, but a recent announcement conveyed that by 2020 the library should be breaking ground to build a bigger branch. The proposed plan includes a generous teen area for materials and activities. So, the future is bright!

Erin Cataldi and Annie Sullivan at the Whiteland Community High School author event.

By volunteering to help out at school events, such as an author visit by Annie Sullivan, Erin continued to solidify her already established relationships with the local middle and high schools, which gives the students a closer connection to the library.

Monthly makerspace at Clark Pleasant Middle School.

Additionally, Erin operates a monthly makerspace at Clark Pleasant Middle School and regularly drops off program brochures, library card applications and posters to the schools around the county. She is also launching a teen advisory board this month in order to gather input into programming ideas for teens. She also attended a young adult round table to talk about best practices for teen programming and to get ideas to supplement what she is doing at their branch.

Erin is an example of a library leader who is having an impact on her library and on her community. This process began with INLLA and the project that she created to increase teen engagement in her area. With the idea of increasing teen engagement, Erin has developed a closer relationship with the schools by volunteering at their events and making more school visits. Teens at the Clark Pleasant Branch of the Johnson County Public Library are lucky to have Erin on their side and I can’t wait to see what she does next!

This blog post was written by Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library.

February Talking Book and Braille Library book club selection

The next meeting of the Talking Book and Braille Library’s book club will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019 at 2 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m. Central. We will be reading “Ginny Moon” by Benjamin Ludwig, which is available in audio (DB 88585) and braille (BR 22202). Ginny is an autistic 14-year-old who has been adopted after years in foster care. Her fragile new life is threatened, however, when her obsessive need to get her baby doll back brings her dangerous birth mother into her life again.

Participants can join the discussion by calling our dial in number, 1-240-454-0887, and entering the conference code, 736 597 563#. Participants may also request that the library call them at the appointed time.

Please let us know if you are interested in participating so that we can contact you about any unexpected changes to either the schedule or call in information. You can request a copy of “Ginny Moon” and let us know you are interested in participating by contacting Laura Williams at 1-800-622-4970 or via email.

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

New year, new genealogy resolutions

If your New Year’s resolutions for 2019 include genealogy research, the Indiana State Library Genealogy Division can help! Whether you are starting your research for the first time or are a seasoned researcher, we have many resources and ideas for you. Here are just a few ways you can get started in 2019:

Read a genealogy book

Besides family histories and ethnic and geographic-based genealogy resources, the Indiana State Library also holds many books that cover the various practical aspects of genealogy research, such as genetic genealogy, organizing your research and research techniques. Check out our catalog for a selection of holdings.

Watch a webinar

The Indiana State Library offers free prerecorded webinars on genealogy topics such as Genealogy 101, vital records and wills and probates. Taught by Genealogy Division librarians, these webinars provide an overview of research techniques and resources with an emphasis on the materials and databases available at the state library.

Check out a new-to-you digital resource

Cited by Family Tree Magazine as being among “…the best state-focused websites for genealogy,”[1] our many digital resources can help with your research. As an added bonus, many of these resources are accessible from home.

  • The Indiana State Library Digital Collections contain full scans of materials from our collection, including manuscripts, family bible records, maps, Indiana government documents and more.
  • Hoosier State Chronicles contains nearly a million fully-searchable digitized Indiana newspaper pages covering a wide time period and geographic area.
  • Indiana Legacy collates many of our databases in one convenient search interface, including the Indiana Biography Index, the Indiana Marriages 1958-2017 database and the Indiana Newspapers on Microfilm holdings guide.
  • Indiana County Research Guides provide an overview to genealogical research in each of Indiana’s 92 counties, including a summary of our print materials and links to free online resources for each county.

Ask a librarian

The librarians at the Indiana State Library are available to answer your research questions even if you can’t visit the library in person. We offer an Ask a Librarian service where you may email or live chat with a librarian. We love to hear from our patrons and would be more than happy to consult our resources or provide research tips regarding your genealogy, whether you are just starting out or are working on a long-term brick wall.

[1] Rick Crume, “Cyber States,” Family Tree Magazine, December 2018, 18-21.

This blog post is by Jamie Dunn, genealogy librarian. For more information, contact the Genealogy Division at (317) 232-3689 or send us a question through Ask-a-Librarian.

Indiana State Library’s Oversize Photograph Collection now available online and in-person

The Indiana State Library’s Oversize Photograph Collection is now arranged, digitized and described, making it accessible both physically and online via ISL’s Digital Collections. The project began in early 2017 with a survey of all existing oversize photographs and a plan to arrange them all in one location and then describe, digitize and encapsulate the photographs. Previously, the photographs were stored in three separate locations according to size, but this organization was both inconsistent and unsustainable. The collection was also treated as a catch-all location for other graphic materials, including clippings, maps, artwork and lithographs. To rectify the situation, the project also involved separating out all materials which could not be classified as photographs.

Divers in Steuben County.

Over the next two years, the photographs were meticulously arranged by subject to correspond with the new organization in the General Photograph Collection, which was undergoing its own cleanup and reorganization project. The smaller photographs were captured using a flatbed scanner, while very large photographs, such as panoramic photographs, were photographed using a DLSR camera before they were encapsulated in Melinex, archival-grade polyester film, for long-term preservation. The main challenge in working with oversize photographs is, naturally, their size. The large photographs are physically difficult to handle and are stored in even larger folders. Due to their size, the photographs were often rolled or folded in the past, which can pose new conservation challenges. The final stage in the project entailed describing the images individually and uploading them to the library’s online photograph collection. The themes of images in the collection vary, but some of the most prevalent subjects include portraits of notable people, groups and organizations, and aerial photographs of Indiana and images of state parks.

Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, 1883.

Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus portrait, 1921.

With the completion of the Oversize Photograph Collection project, nearly 600 photographs are now more accessible and usable than ever before, with 582 available digitally. The project has made physical control of the collection a reality, supported the collection’s longevity by reducing handling of the original photographs, and most importantly, profoundly increased access to the collection for users around the world.

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

Better pay those library fines if you want your full tax refund check!

We’re heading into tax time and many of us are looking forward to our tax refunds. However, did you know that if you have outstanding fines and fees at your public library, the library can have a portion of your refund intercepted and diverted to the library to pay off what you owe? The process is called Set off of Refunds in state law. SooR is a process where public libraries, among other entities who are owed money, can claim and receive that money out of a state tax refund owed to the person who owes money to the library. This is not something the library is required to do, but rather is just another debt collection option available to libraries and other entities. For example, Sally owes the library $150 for ten DVDs she checked out and never returned. The library went through its usual process of attempting to notify Sally and collect the money owed to the library. All the normal collection attempts employed by the library failed. The library then decided to attempt to collect the money from Sally’s next state tax refund through the SooR process.

How does the process work?
First, the library must enter into an agreement with a Department of Revenue-approved clearinghouse. The approved clearinghouse for libraries is the Association of Indiana Counties. When the library has a debt it wants paid from a person’s tax refund, the library must direct the clearinghouse to file an application for the set off on behalf of the library. After receipt of the application, the DOR will determine whether or not the person who owes the debt, known as the the debtor, is due for a tax refund. The DOR will notify the library if the debtor is entitled to a tax refund.

Within 15 days of receiving notice that the debtor is entitled to a tax refund, the library or the clearinghouse must send written notice to the debtor and the DOR of the library’s intent to have the tax refund set off. The debtor is entitled to a hearing to contest the set off if the debtor mails written notice to the library of the debtor’s intent to contest the library’s right to the debt. The debtor must mail this written notice within 30 days after the date the library’s notice of intent to have the tax refund set off was mailed to the debtor.

The total amount of the set off of the debtor’s tax refund may include the actual amount owed to the library, a 15% collection fee payable to the DOR and a local collection assistance fee payable to the clearinghouse, the amount of which is set by the clearinghouse and is not to exceed $20.

After final determination of the validity of the debt, the library must certify to DOR the amount owed by the debtor to the library that is subject to set off. Upon receipt of certification of a debt, the DOR shall set off the appropriate amount and pay it to the library or the clearinghouse. The DOR notifies the debtor of the tax refund set off.

Is the library guaranteed to get the money owed to them through this process?
No, there are a number of variables that could affect whether or not the library can recoup money through the SooR process. It is possible the taxpayer is not due a refund, in which case, the library would not receive any money through this process. Additionally, among the 10 types of entities who can use the SooR process, political subdivisions, which include public libraries, are at the end of the priority list which means other entities will get money owed to them first and there may not be enough left for the library after other creditors have been paid. If the person has the fees owed discharged in bankruptcy, then the library could not recoup the fees.

Is there a time limit by which collection for a specific debt through the SooR process must take place?
The law does not state a time limit after which a debt is not eligible for collection using this process. Additionally, the law does not specify how long a debt must be owed to a political subdivision before the political subdivision can use this process to collect the debt.

Is there a minimum dollar threshold that must be owed to the library before the library can use this process to collect on a debt?
The law does not state a minimum dollar threshold that must be owed before the library can use this process to collect a debt.

How does this work on a joint tax return if only one person is responsible for the debt?
On a joint return, the entire refund is subject to set off unless there is a timely defense raised by a co-refundee who is not a debtor. If a timely defense is raised that the refund is based on a combined tax return of a debtor and a non-debtor, then the set off can only be effected against the debtor’s share of the refund.

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

The Tabard Inn Library

Over the course of its long history, many book donations have come to the Indiana State Library and have been incorporated into the collection. These books often contain personal inscriptions, decorative bookplates or other ephemera from previous owners.  A first edition of the novel “The Cost,” authored by Hoosier David Graham Phillips and published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1904, bears the following handwritten note on the inside cover:

“This book traveled all over Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Holland, 1913.”

It also has a colorful bookplate for something called The Tabard Inn Library. The Tabard Inn Library was a membership library founded in 1902. For a fee, people could obtain a membership which would allow them to borrow books from designated book stations throughout the country, many of which were located in public places such as stores. Members could exchange an old book for a new one by depositing five cents into the book station. The books were encased in black cardboard bearing distinctive red bands on the spines, hence the company’s motto: “With all the RED TAPE on the BOX.”

A magazine advertisement for the Tabard Inn Library program from 1905.

It is tempting to imagine the original owner of this book selecting it from dozens of other titles at a Tabard Inn book station located in a hotel lobby prior to embarking on their European adventure.

For more information on the Tabard Inn Library venture, including pictures of the book stations, visit here.

The Library of Congress has an entire special collection of books that, like ISL’s copy, were once part of the Tabard Inn program.

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.”

Association for Rural and Small Libraries Annual Conference recap

“You don’t have to be big to think big.”

“Create bolder goals.”

“Do most things well instead of all things mediocre.”

“Size is relative, not potential.”

“Focus on the things to be grateful for.”

“Small is not the same as less; look at what we do have!”

These quotes are a few of my favorites that I heard at the Association for Rural and Small Libraries Annual Conference, themed “Linking Libraries in the Lincoln,” that took place in Springfield, Illinois on Sept. 12-15, 2018. I have to say, this was one of the best national library conferences I have ever attended! The mission of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries is to provide “resources and support that empower those in small and rural libraries to deliver excellent service for their communities.” It’s also “a network of persons throughout the country dedicated to the positive growth and development of libraries.”

I had heard so many great things about the ARSL group. For years on the Indiana library Listservs I would see posts from Julie Elmore praising this group and how valuable it is for small and rural libraries. I finally got to see if for myself, as I joined ARSL earlier this year. On the ARSL Listserv you could tell that people were so psyched about the conference and the chance to meet new and old friends. The excitement was palpable! There are libraries out there that only have one staff person, which is why this group is so important. It can be very lonely working by yourself, but having the support and guidance of this group is priceless.

This year’s annual conference was originally capped at 500 people, but due to an overwhelming response, which saw the conference sell out in three weeks, an additional 250 attendees were accommodated! The conference committee, chaired by Elmore, director of the Oakland City Columbia Township Public Library in Oakland City, Indiana, did an amazing job finding overflow hotel space, rearranging layouts and wading through numerous wait lists.

Forty-nine of the 50 states were represented at this conference. In the picture, you see 26 librarians from Indiana alone, though many other Hoosier librarians didn’t make the picture. We had many opportunities to network with dine-arounds, trivia night and special tours of the Illinois State Library. I met some very cool librarians from states all over the country, including Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, New York, North Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. I met a lovely lady who said that the conference was a like a vacation for her because she’s the mother of seven kids!

There were so many presentations I wanted to see and despite a few being repeated, I ran out of time. The presentations were extremely practical and ran the gamut of what libraries are doing: library of things, coding, strategic planning, marketing and storytimes. Programming ideas included “Adulting 101” and an “Escape Room @ the Library.” Small and rural libraries are used to wearing many hats, so they know how to do it all and the awesome presentations reflected that fact.

Along with the presentations, we had excellent keynote speakers. President Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by historical presenter Kevin Wood, brought history to life with some of his recollections and insights. Author and Illinois native Elizabeth Berg stressed that “no place ever felt quite like home, except a library.” Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden joined us via live stream and talked about ways that the Library of Congress can truly be the library of the United States. Part of their strategic plan is to do more outreach and open up resources. Dr. Hayden said one way that libraries can take advantage of this is to live stream Library of Congress programs at their own libraries.

“Linking Libraries in the Lincoln” was a resounding success! There was such an overwhelming feeling of camaraderie among attendees who shared successes, encouraged each other and learned new things from passionate professionals. I definitely recommend attending this conference; you won’t be sorry you went. So be sure to mark your calendars for 2019. There is already a countdown clock for the next ARSL conference  on Sept. 4-7, 2019 in Burlington, Vermont. ARSL 2020 will be back in the Midwest – YEAH!

This post was written by Northeast Regional Coordinator Paula Newcom, Professional Development Office.

ISL hidden resource – Federal documents at the Indiana State Library

The Indiana State Library participates in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), serving as the regional depository for the state of Indiana. Providing access to government information is only one service offered by the library. ISL is committed to promoting government information literacy to all Hoosiers. That information is found on the Indiana Federal Documents website. Created to be the resource destination for learning and locating government information, Indiana Federal Documents contains tips and resources relating on the federal government geared for both researchers and librarians.

The Indiana Federal Documents site features blog posts promoting specific government resources, services or upcoming educational events. Beyond the blogs posts are research and subject guides. The research guides cover an overview of the SuDoc classification, how to research congressional documents and reports and how to research public and private laws. The subject guides are compiled government resources on a particular topic. The guides include the site, URL and a short description of the resource. Currently, there are subject guides for the following topics: children’s resources, college resources, family history resources and popular government resources. All of the sourced information comes from an official government agency or government project.

Indiana Federal Documents also includes information specific to librarians, like Indiana’s Light Archive Agreement, Indiana’s State Focused Action Plan, procedures, guidelines, links to government information webinars and government information Listservs. Additional resources relating to government information can be found from the federal documents collection page through the Indiana State Library. In addition to linking directly to IFD, the federal documents page has information on ISL’s history in the FDLP, information on Government Information Day (GID) conferences and links to prominent government resources. For any questions, or sources not discussed, Federal Documents Librarian Brent Abercrombie is available to contact for guidance.

This blog post was written by Indiana State Library Federal Documents Coordinator Brent Abercrombie. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

New Directors Workshop 2018

On Aug. 15, 2018, at the Indiana State Library, 32 new public library directors, representing 24 counties in Indiana, were introduced to each other and to the Library Directors One-Stop Guide. Public library consultants Karen Ainslie and Angela Fox hosted the annual New Director Workshop and presented on multiple topics.

The workshop offered an orientation to the many resources of the guidebook, including contacts for public library directors. The guidebook’s 20 chapters inform directors on the many tasks and responsibilities necessary for the day-to-day management of public libraries.

Welcome, new directors.

The opening presentation focused on the distinct roles of the director versus the board, including standards, library laws, certification and professional development. Additional presentations covered sharing resources, the INSPIRE database and other digital resources. The morning activities concluded with a walking tour of the Indiana State Library.

In the afternoon, directors heard about the roles that the Department of Local Government Finance and State Board of Accounts play in the budget and financing of public libraries. A survey of grants was followed by a session on public purchasing and public works to familiarize directors with the bid process and obtaining quotes. Also included was an overview of the children’s services provided by the Indiana State Library. The day concluded with a group picture taken near the Great Hall.

This blog post was written by Karen Ainslie and Angela Fox, public library consultants, Indiana State Library.