Once upon a time: Tips for writers from a librarian

Libraries are magnets for writers and would-be authors. One of the questions libraries often hear from writers is, “How can I get my book into your library?” The answer can vary from library to library based on the library’s collection development policy and the type of book in question. For example, a law library is probably not going to be interested in a science fiction novel. A public library will probably not be interested in an extensive multi-volume textbook about string theory. However, public libraries oftentimes are interested in collecting well-written books by their own local authors. A big plus is if the book has been reviewed in a reputable book review publication like Publisher’s Weekly or Library Journal. There are lots of other things that authors can to do make their work more attractive to a librarian.

First off, authors can do the work to make their book the best book they can possibly write. There are many organizations that hold online writing classes that help writers hone their skills, learn about the publishing industry and get connected with other writers. Midwest Writers Workshop has virtual conferences for writers and the Indiana Writers Center has over a dozen classes offered at any given time covering topics from plays to poetry.

Authors can learn tips and tricks from other writers by joining a writing community. There are organizations for writers in almost every genre imaginable from Romance Writers of America to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Benefits to joining one of these groups are manifold. Writers can find critique groups, learn about upcoming opportunities or be listed in a speaker’s bureau. One of the best things that a burgeoning writer can do is to get hooked into a network of other writers.

Library programs are another outlet that might be available to new writers. Some libraries have local author fairs where many authors can showcase their work at one time. The Indiana Historical Society has done this in the past as well as the Indianapolis Public Library’s Meet an Author / Be an Author event. Author events that showcase just one local author are a bit more rare and harder for a library to justify, due to the fact that one lesser-known author is not as likely to bring in a crowd versus a group of authors. Nowadays, a virtual author event might also be possible.

When in doubt, read a book. “Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book” by Courtney Maum can serve as a how-to guide for authors just starting out. In down-to-earth chapters, Maum offers all kinds of advice about writing and the publishing industry.

The Indiana State Library is one library that actively collects fiction and poetry by Indiana authors who write for all audiences. For more information on donating your work to our collections, reach out to Suzanne Walker, the coordinator for the Indiana Center for the book.

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

Check out recent Testing and Education Reference Center updates available via INSPIRE

The Testing and Education Reference Center is made available via INSPIRE through a partnership between Gale and Peterson’s. Recently, great strides have been made in order to expand the career tools available within TERC. The current tools, including the resume writer and assessment in the Career Module, will remain available for at least 30 days.

Below is a comparison between the current tools and the new tools set to debut:

This post was written by Northeast regional coordinator Paula Newcom, Professional Development Office.

Returning this year… summer programs for kids!

We are thrilled to announce that the Indiana State Library will again provide free youth programming this summer through the Indiana Young Readers Center! June and July are going to be packed with fun and engaging workshops for kids to INvestigate + Explore.

Join us this summer for six exciting programs combining Indiana investigations and explorations of cool themes like art, culture and history. Programs are open to children who have completed third grade up through middle school and require advanced registration. Read below for more information and learn how to register for our programs. All programs will take place at the Indiana State Library, located at 315 W. Ohio St. in Indianapolis. Attendees may also enter through the door at 140 N. Senate Ave. Public registration is limited, so act fast!

Next Great Architects | Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. | History Reference Room
Kionna Walker will show children how to use problem solving and their imaginations to explore architectural planning processes. Kids will also learn about the design and construction of the Indiana State Library. Register here.

Gifts from the Earth: Native American Effigy Pottery | Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. | Indiana Authors Room
Artist Robin McBride Scott will lead children in creating an effigy vessel they can take home after they learn about treaties. Participants will also see the library’s own copy of St. Mary’s Treaty. Register here.

The Writerly Life | Wednesday, June 27, 2018, 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. | Indiana Authors Room
Julie Patterson will lead children in applying strategies for developing ideas into stories that others want to read. Children will also decorate notebooks so they can practice the writerly life at home. Register here.

Jazz Drum Dialogues | Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. | Indiana Authors Room
Children will learn about the rich history in the Indiana Avenue corridor and learn the basics of jazz drumming from local musician Lawrence Clark. Register here.

Comic Creation | Monday, July 16, 2018, 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. | Indiana Authors Room
Jingo de la Rosa will lead children in drawing comics after they learn about some of Indiana’s great illustrators like Norman Bridwell, Jim Davis, Ben Hatke, Keiko Kasza and Troy Cummings. Register here.

Sitting Still Like a Poet | Wednesday, July 25, 2018, 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. | Indiana Authors Room
Julie Patterson will help children quiet their minds and pay attention to the “story worthy” material around them. Children will also learn about different types of poetry and Indiana poets. Register here.

INvestigate + Explore is funded by the Indiana State Library Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Each program is partially facilitated in partnership with Arts for Learning Indiana.

Please contact Caitlyn Stypa at (317) 232-1401 or via email, with any questions.

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

What’s in a name? Government Publishing Office officially recognizes Hoosiers as Hoosiers

In this state we take our names seriously! We are Hoosiers; not Indianians; not even Indianans. We are Hoosiers and, finally, the Government Publishing Office (GPO) agrees with us! The newest edition of the GPO Style Manual will no longer refer to citizens of Indiana by the name Indianians, but now as Hoosiers. The Style Manual (similar to style manuals you find in English class for help with citations) is a standardization template designed to create uniformity of a word or phrase. One such example is the designation of native residents of states. GPO, by act of Congress, has published a style manual since 1894, and states that its rules are based on principles of good usage and custom in the printing trade.

They explain,”Writing is hard enough without having to make gut-wrenching decisions about punctuation and spelling every few seconds and the Style Manual is designed to make all government writing consistent. The manual is the authority on questions of language and spelling that are not black and white, but grey. Unfortunately, GPO long ago decided in designating the names of a Hoosier that they should be referred to as an Indianian.”

To the rescue

Senator Joe Donnelly and former Senator Dan Coats entreated GPO to make the change. They argued Indiana residents have proudly called themselves Hoosiers for more than 180 years and writing in a letter last year stated, “we find it a little jarring to be referred to (Indianian) in this way.”

Their timing was perfect, as GPO was working on the 31st edition of the Style Manual. The federal government relented and on page 95 of the updated U.S. Government Publishing Office’s Style Manual we Hoosiers are finally, officially Hoosiers.

This blog post is by Reference and Government Services Division. For more information, contact us at (317) 232-3678 or send us a question through Ask-a-Librarian.