Indiana Library Leadership Academy member project recaps

My first year as Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library started with me taking over the planning of the 2018-19 Indiana Library Leadership Academy. This past week I sent out the applications for the 2020-21 cohort. With the next academy on the horizon, I would like to highlight some 2018-19 INLLA cohort members’ projects. Below, some of the 2018-19 INLLA members describe their projects.

Jennifer Taylor, Hagerstown Library
“[My goal] was increasing the number of teen workers at the library, and we’ve hired two more teenagers to work in the library. I’ve increased my involvement at our local high school to get more teen programs occurring in the local high school. I also capitalized on International Games Week to increase the game programs in the library at the high school, which met two times there that week. I had 50-54 high school students at each of those programs. Since then, I have been at the high school once a week, and still kept 48-50 students at each game session. There was also a feature about the gaming programs that I have done, including the junior high school program, in a local paper that was then featured in the Indiana Library Federation newsletter in October about “Great Things in Libraries.”

Because of her involvement with the area schools, Jennifer’s library saw a 60% increase in participation in their Summer Reading Program. She is slated to do three webinars related to gaming for the Indiana State Library this year.

Julie Wendorf, Crown Point Community Library
“I wrote and got a grant to fund the TumbleBooks database for the next two years. The use at the schools started in November 2018. I worked with the school’s central office to promote the resource and coordinate adding the database to the school’s integrated one-on-one instruction and content management system. I am thrilled to share that that the use of the database went from 8 views in September, 86 in October and to almost 8,800 views in November. This success will be great as I move forward in the push to get digital library cards for all students in the school system. We will push out staff outreach visits to all the elementary schools during lunch time to issue library cards to all teachers in the district and further share library resources with individual teachers. The successful use of the database will help show the need for more partnerships between school and library. We’re looking at doing targeted visits to the high school to share about INSPIRE when we get those digital cards in place. It would be great to share other databases, too. I’m excited to go to the auto repair class and share Chilton’s. The library also created a bookmark for sensitive teen issues and had the library designated as a Safe Place.”

Melissa Hunt, Morrisson-Reeves Library
“My senior library card [project] is going well. I am established at three senior living facilities. The card gives seniors a slightly longer checkout. Staff at the facilities are working with this project and are trained to help the residents place holds so that they are getting items ready ahead of time and between myself and the staff we are getting the books to the members. One facility has declined to participate in the program, but we were able to take some weeded materials and our Friend’s group is allowing me to take some materials from their donations to that center as well. Because of this project, the senior center asked me to give a presentation about Morrison-Reeves Library and its resources. They would also like to set a book club or library help time. We are working out those details. Maybe I will train some senior center volunteers to run the club and a few staff at Morrison-Reeve Library are willing to go and help at a scheduled time about every 4 to 6 weeks at the center. I am also running two book clubs at two of the senior facilities. Going to the senior center sparked a youth services staff member to visit preschools and elementary schools to promote library cards and do story times.”

Leslie Sutherlin, South Dearborn School District
“My schools, the middle school and high school in South Dearborn, are hosting author Alan Gratz. I’ve created a packet of resources for teachers on Alan. We are also having a few guest speakers and possibly a panel. I have been in contact with an immigration lawyer as one of the guest speakers. We are also having someone from the Holocaust and Humanities Center in Cincinnati speak. When Alan comes, we may have him present in the evening at our local public library.”

Becca Neel, David L. Rice Library, University of Southern Indiana
“The overall goal of my project was to expand online library instruction and research support for students and instructors in Indiana high schools offering dual credit through USI’s College Achievement Program. To accomplish this goal, I’ve been working closely with our infinitely helpful and supportive CAP administrative team on campus to collaborate on training, communication and promotional efforts. This partnership has afforded me a myriad of opportunities to exchange ideas and to share resources and services with a diverse group high school CAP instructors via LibGuides and Zoom instruction sessions. A list of CAP LibGuides resulting from recent instructor collaborations can be found here.

“More recently, this project has connected me with some incredibly innovative and energetic media specialists from CAP partner high schools who have been instrumental in providing me with both a context for approaching information literacy in a non-university environment and an audience willing to listen to incessant gushing over INSPIRE database content and navigation.

“As the result of these various partnerships, and with the support and supreme event-planning expertise of the USI Rice Library’s head of public services, library support for the CAP community will continue its expansion through a day-long Linking Information Literacy Across CAP workshop aimed at bringing together USI librarians, media specialists and public librarians connected with the CAP high schools.

“This workshop is intended to foster long-term network of collaboration among librarians and media specialists, and will feature info-sharing and brainstorming sessions, as well as resource and technology training to provide school librarians with editor privileges for school-specific LibGuides. An example of one such collaborative LibGuide can be found here.”

Carrie Vrabel, Allen County Public Library
“My project became the creation and promotion of a free, web-based resume generator especially designed for patrons with beginner-level computer skills.

“This resume generator creates a formatted, printable and saveable resume. There are instructions for printing at the top of the page. Many of the fields auto-capitalize for patrons with beginner-level computer skills and there are examples of wording that can be used in the qualifications and skills fields.

“I sent the link to ALA’s ThinkTank on Facebook and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. I also presented this new resource at the ILF Regional Conference in Mishawaka on Monday, April 22, 2019. To my knowledge, Resume Generator is the only free web-based resume generator on the internet, so I hope to get the word out to as many librarians as possible!”

Jenna Anderson, Kendallville Public Library
“Following an inspirational conference session on a STEM program for teens in 2017, as the Kendallville Public Library Marketing specialist I thought, ‘What if I took some of these ideas, added more topics, put the program online and expanded it to everyone?’

“In June 2018, the Kendallville Public Library unveiled Design Your Climb, an online, points-based system for learning and fun. At the time, the challenges included library skills, makerspace experiences, robot programming and other library-related activities. It generated some excitement in the community, especially because participants could win prizes as they earned points.

“Once again, that ‘what if’ question took over. What if the library expanded Design Your Climb so people could not only experience the library, but experience the community? Through the Indiana Library Leadership Academy, I learned valuable leadership skills and developed a plan of attack for involving the community in Design Your Climb.

“I approached local organizations and nonprofits, offering them the benefits of the library’s exposure at no cost to them. In exchange for working with the library to develop a challenge track specifically for them and promoting it through their own marketing channels, the library would support the challenge on its online system, promote the challenges as well and award prizes. Many recognized a win-win when they saw it, and took the library up on the offer. To date, three organizations have four on-going challenges among them, while several more are developing their challenges. The number of Design Your Climb participants continues to grow, while the awareness of the services in the community increases, as well.

“Design Your Climb is a partnership between the Kendallville Public Library and the East Noble School Corporation. KPL handles the Personal Growth portion of the initiative, while East Noble is unveiling the Educational Growth portion of Design Your Climb to its second grade students. Design Your Climb Personal Growth can be found here.”

Jenna was so inspired by INLLA, and specifically speaker Cathy Hakala-Ausperk, that she says it literally changed her life. Her approach to her job has expanded, she has pursued additional leadership training and is now moving herself and her library in new and exciting directions. She was also recently promoted to support services manager.

Charles Rude, Kewanna-Union Township Public Library
“I am attempting to digitize a collection of my home town newspapers. I have the library’s support with some budget funds, legal ownership of the papers for the library and a loose commitment of funds from the community foundation. At this point, I am still hoping to get other local organizations on board and expand my scope. I am in discussions with the historical society and my library neighbors and towns. I am asking them for contributions or whatever they can do to support the project and they seem very positive. I still feel strongly that we need to preserve our history for future generations so I will be working with these organizations to get the ball rolling.”

Katie Lehman, Muncie Public Library
“My educational resource boxes are being built by a local Eagle Scout and will be installed at our south side branch and at a partnering location. Inside the boxes there will be educational tools and supplies that anyone can take and utilize. This will include things like crayons, glue sticks and different educational activities assembled by Ready Readers staff. I am looking at partnering with either the YWCA or YMCA as the second location for a box.

“Many of the children in my program talk about not having items such as crayons, markers, glue, dice, etc. at home. While many locations give these things out at the beginning of the school year, the supplies often must stay at school. Even when they do go home, they are used up quickly, lost or thrown out in a quick move.

“While it is not specific to my INLLA project, I did want to share that since INLLA, I have secured two grants for Muncie Public Library’s Ready Readers Program. One through Psi Iota XI to update the furniture in the room to make sessions more comfortable and one through Delta Kappa Gamma for teaching supplies to use with students in sessions.

“I feel that I gained a lot out of my INLLA experience. One thing that really stuck with me was a response from one of the panel members who said, ‘Keep your head down and do the work. I’ve kept that mantra and it’s paid off! I was recently promoted to director of academic enrichment and now supervise 10 staff and more than 85 kids.”

If you would like to apply to be a part of the 2020-21 INLLA Cohort, click here for the application. The application is due Friday, Feb. 28. If you have any questions, please contact Kara Cleveland at 317-232-3718 or via email.

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

A delayed divide: Crispus Attucks High School and segregation in Indianapolis public schools

If you are familiar with Indianapolis history, you know that Crispus Attucks High School was the city’s first, and only, all-black high school. But did you know before Crispus Attucks opened, Indianapolis high schools were not formally segregated? Before the fall of 1927, when Crispus Attucks opened its doors, black high school students attended Shortridge, Washington and Arsenal Tech High Schools with white students.

A post card printed in the mid-twentieth century depicting the seven IPS high schools.

In May of 1869, the Indiana State Legislature passed a law ordering that all property should be taxed for the benefit of public school systems, without regard to the property owner’s race, and that all children, black or white, should be able to matriculate at their local public school. Still, section three of the act states “The Trustee or Trustees of each township, town or city, shall organize the colored children into separate schools, having all the rights and privileges of other schools of the township.” While this act was a huge positive step for black children, who beforehand were not guaranteed a free, public education, the law called for school segregation. In general, segregation came more naturally to elementary and middle schools, which were more numerous and served the children living closest to them. At this time, however, there was only one high school for all of the young men and women of Indianapolis. According the 1869 law, if there were not enough black students to justify separate schools, it was up to the trustees to find another means of education for these children. In 1872, although the superintendent and not a board trustee, Abraham C. Shortridge did just that.

After retiring from his position as IPS superintendent, Shortridge became the president of Purdue University, a position he held for just the 1874-1875 term. This picture appeared in the 1895 “Debris,” Purdue’s yearbook.

In a 1908 article penned by Shortridge for the Indianapolis News, the former superintendent explained how Indianapolis High School, today known as Shortridge High School, gained its first black student. In the early 1870s, there were only about six black teens looking to attend high school, so a segregated high school defied practicality. A group of local men prominent in the black community came together with a plan to file suit against Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and force them to admit black pupils to Indianapolis High School. Shortridge had a simpler idea. He asked the men to send their brightest, high-school age child to him on the first day of the new school year. On that day, Mary Alice Rann appeared before Shortridge and asked to enroll in the high school. He took her to the principal, George P. Brown, and plainly said, “Mr. Brown, here is a girl that wishes to enter the high school,” and then went back about his day. Shortridge would wait and see if anyone protested.

Miraculously, no one did; however, that does not mean that people weren’t against the admittance of Rann. In his article, Shortridge goes on to tell the story of one such dissenter. Editor of the now-defunct Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, and member of the IPS school board, J. J. Bingham, came to the high school to confront Shortridge about admitting a black pupil. After making a derogatory remark, Bingham said, “I have a long communication in my pocket now in regard to it.” He was threatening to publish his feelings in his new paper, which would surely stir up additional protesters. Shortridge replied, “That is a good place for it; better let it stay in your pocket.” In the end, Bingham published nothing. After four years of study, Mary Alice Rann graduated from Indianapolis High School.

The part I find the most fascinating about history is how we can see facts within material culture and through archival documents. I found proof of the beginning of segregation in Indianapolis high schools on a whim. I wondered, would I be able to see segregation by looking at Shortridge High School yearbooks? Look at the images below. Notice a change? The first clump of senior photos are from the 1926-1927 term yearbook at Shortridge High School. Below that are several pages worth of senior pictures from the following term, 1927-1928. In this yearbook, you will find nothing but white faces, save one young man from the Philippines.

A collection of senior pupils at Shortridge High School, 1926-1927 term.

A collection of senior pupils at Shortridge High School, 1927-1928 term.

People often associate the decision to build Crispus Attucks High School with the Ku Klux Klan. This association is based on the fact that multiple IPS board members elected in 1925, along with Indianapolis city councilors, Governor Edward Jackson and Indianapolis Mayor John Duvall, were members of the KKK; however, it was actually the school board elected in 1921 who began the preparations for building Crispus Attucks. Sentiment for white supremacy was running rampant in the state well before 1925.

Many, if not most, in the black community in Indianapolis were against the creation of Crispus Attucks. They argued that this new school could not possibly provide the same opportunities, academically or vocationally, that the city’s three other high schools offered. Shortridge High School was considered one of the best in the nation, after all, and the majority of Indianapolis’ black high school students were enrolled there. Even with local protest and pending court cases, construction on the new school commenced. In the end, the school became one of the crown jewels of the neighborhood surrounding the Indiana Avenue corridor. It provided jobs for black teachers who were otherwise barred from teaching at white or even integrated schools. Because of the high level of competition for black teaching jobs, the teachers at Crispus Attucks were the best of the best. Many had advanced degrees and were better qualified to do their job than white teachers, and Crispus Attucks became a first rate school despite the circumstances that caused its founding.

Crispus Attucks High School, 1928. This photograph is part of the Bass Photo Co. Collection at the Indiana Historical Society.

In 1949, Indiana outlawed segregation in its schools; however, segregation continued in Indianapolis. Crispus Attucks began admitting white students in 1967, but the pupils remained more than predominantly black. In 1968, the federal government filed a complaint and took the IPS school board to court for continuing de jure (by law) segregation, while the school board argued that they were innocent and that IPS schools only suffered from de facto (by fact, or chance) segregation. In reality, there had been gerrymandering of school boundaries, which perpetuated segregation. After multiple appeals by the IPS school board, the federal court ordered that the city and IPS needed to facilitate a busing program to help reverse the years of segregation. The program bused black students living closer to the city center to township schools in more affluent, predominantly white neighborhoods. It began on a small scale in 1973 and then transitioned to a large-scale program over several years; many of the affected township schools did not begin participating in the program until 1981. White students living in the townships were never bused to predominantly black schools in the inner city. The federal court order mandating this program expired in 2016.

This blog post was written by Caitlyn Stypa, Indiana Young Readers Center assistant, Indiana State Library.