By Anna Shei
October 5, 2020
Fiction, Nonfiction, Historical, Travel, Cookbooks… a quick trip to a library can end up in a rabbit hole of you reading book cover after book cover and making a list of all the books you want to read in the future. While you’re lost in neverland with your reading list, the Indiana State Library is working to keep your fantasy intact.
The Indiana State Library is working behind the scenes, like a true crime detective, to utilize your tax dollars to support libraries across the state and to fund programs you may not have heard of.
The State Library is responsible for four things:
- Developing and providing library services to state government, its branches, its departments and its officials and employees;
- Providing for the individual citizens of the state those specialized library services not generally appropriate, economical or available in other libraries of the state;
- Encouraging and supporting the development of the library profession; and
- Strengthening services of all types of publicly and privately supported special, school, academic, and public libraries.
Before we get too far, it is important to note that the State Library is not the same thing as the Indianapolis Public Library. The State Library has different goals and programs than the public library.
The Indiana State Library was established in 1825 and houses over two million volumes and three million manuscripts as well as thousands of maps, federal documents, microfilm and more. The Library supports too many initiatives to list in this blog, but here are a few you may not have known about.
INSPIRE, a free service for all Indiana residents, is an online collection of databases, newspapers, full-text academic articles, magazines, eBooks, pamphlets, images, videos, almanacs and much more. INSPIRE’s databases offer everything from test preparation to peer-reviewed academic research papers to current news, often available in full-text format. INSPIRE also provides free access to level one of Rosetta Stone, the award-winning language learning software. Visit “Indiana’s Virtual Library” here: https://inspire.in.gov/.
The Genealogy Collection has developed over time to become one of the largest collections of family history information in the Midwest. The collection includes more than 40,000 print items - family histories, indexes to records, how-to-books, cemetery transcriptions, family history magazines and more - as well as military pension information. The emphasis of the collection is on Indiana and bordering states, as well as eastern and southern states. The 2020 Genealogy and Local History Fair will be held virtually on October24. Registration is free and required so be sure to register today!
State Data Center/Census
The State Library teams up with the U.S. Census Bureau to make sure all Hoosiers are counted in the Census. The library then makes the Census data as well as other federal and state statistics available to your community which will help you by assisting in marketing, economic development, community planning and analysis, grant writing, business start-ups and much more.
Talking Book & Braille Library
The Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library provides free library services to residents of Indiana who cannot use standard printed materials due to a visual or physical disability. People can borrow braille books, digital audio books, large print books, audio magazines, and special playback equipment from the library. Materials are mailed directly to people’s homes using “free matter for the blind”. Braille and audio books are also available to download from BARD.
Read to Me Program
The Read-to-Me Program is a special program run by the State Library. It gives incarcerated parents an opportunity to connect with their children by recording themselves reading childrens’ books. The recordings are then given to the child so the child and listen to their parent read them a book. Responses have been extremely positive with parents saying the program gives them a way to stay connected with their child while they are away.
Indiana Historical Bureau
The Indiana Historical Bureau is also part of the State Library. The bureau provides publications and opportunities for Hoosiers of all ages to learn about the history of their communities and state. The bureau hosts a podcast, writes blogs and organizes events to help people learn about a number of topics. Currently, the bureau has an entire webpage about the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial. The bureau is also in charge of the Historical Markers program. The markers identify historical sites that are of noteworthy, lasting impact or representative of major themes in Indiana or American history. The bureau takes new applications every year and vets them for accuracy. The bureau also oversees the Indiana Legislative Oral History Initiative, which provides an opportunity to get an inside look at the politicians who have helped shape the State of Indiana.
Listing every program the State Library is in charge of would take several more chapters in this blog. If you do some research the State Library may have just what you need!