Thursday, January 22, 2015

504. Pence Proposes Eliminating State Library Genealogy

[The following press release was forwarded to me. This is an excerpt.]

Press Release from State Librarian Jacob Speer,   January 15, 2015                 (Excerpt)

                        It is in the best interest of the citizens of Indiana that the projected cuts in funding set forth in the current budget proposal be reevaluated in consideration of the education needs of every Hoosier. The proposed 24% cut in funding would jeopardize the accessibility of information vital to millions of Indiana residents and could result in reducing Indiana State Library staff by 10%. The following is a concise list of evidence supporting the continuation of funding for various services provided by the Indiana State Library. Your cooperation in supporting the continuous funding of these programs in the 2015 legislative session would be greatly appreciated.

Proposed Reduction in Funding
INSPIRE                                                                                                $1,340,783
Genealogy Department                                                                          $400,000
Public Library Standards & Certification                                              $150,000
Total:                                                                                                     $1,890,783


            The proposal to eliminate all funding ($400,000) for the Genealogy department of the library will impact the availability and use of a one-of-a-kind resource that includes many elements of family history and Indiana history.
            Specific statutory authority for the program: 
IC 4-23-7.1 Sec. 3. The state library shall maintain, develop, and service a collection of books, periodicals, newspapers, maps, manuscripts, audiovisual materials, and other library materials for the purpose of:
        (1) meeting the informational, educational, and research needs of state government;
        (2) preserving and making available for use, materials bearing on the history of the state;
        (3) meeting the specialized library needs and interests of citizens of Indiana; and
        (4) supplementing the reference and materials resources of the libraries of the state.
            The Indiana State Library (ISL) is home to one of the largest Genealogy collections in the Midwest. This collection (over 100,000 items) is focused on Indiana, states from which Indiana was settled as well as some foreign countries. The collection is rich with unique family histories and genealogy materials that cannot be found in other locations. In comparison, the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) only collects materials on Indiana and the Old Northwest – genealogy research can never be restricted to one state only. Family trees branch outside of a single state and spread throughout the country and across oceans.  Genealogy collections (including ours) contain materials for neighboring states as well as items covering the east and southern coasts (where most immigrants landed) and genealogical resources for other countries (mainly in Europe where most immigrants came from). These types of resources are not collected by IHS or the Indiana State Archives or the Historical Bureau.
            In addition, the ISL serves as the Genealogy destination for patrons that use the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library (IPL). In the past, IPL donated their collection to ISL because they were not going to actively collect for Genealogy and they wanted somewhere close by to send their patrons and know they would get service in this area. Over the years they have also donated funds so that ISL could purchase valuable Genealogy research materials to be kept in the collection and used by patrons statewide. It has been a beneficial partnership.
            Staff members who work in genealogy are playing important roles in planning the library’s role in the State’s bicentennial commemoration including the State Visitor Center that will be installed on the library’s first floor adjacent to the genealogy department. 49% of all reference questions that come into the ISL are for research from these genealogy materials.
            For such a small portion of our overall budget, we provide exceptional research materials to the public including students, genealogy librarians, historians, and legislators; preserving Indiana history for generations to come.

Monday, January 19, 2015

503. You Might Try This Transcript Program

    Most of us in the genealogy field have occasion to convert written documents into printed script. We have to frequently decipher questionable handwriting into understandable language. Dick Eastman's recent newsletter referred to a simple free program that may help with this challenge. See below for the intro page and go to Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter for further details. I downloaded this program and it seems to work rather well. Give it a try.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

502. IHS Announces Indiana Heritage Support Program

[Some of our local state genealogy groups may be interested in this announcement.]     

       Indianapolis—The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) is pleased to announce the creation of its new Indiana Heritage Support Program, an initiative funded by a $3.43 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.
            During the next five years, IHS will provide $2.5 million in grants to Indiana’s local historical organizations. These will fund a wide variety of projects to help local organizations meet high-priority needs in areas of capacity building, collections stewardship, innovation and collaboration. The first round of grant applications will be accepted in late 2015 and the first grants will be awarded in the bicentennial year of 2016.
            IHS will also hire a full-time fundraising educator, who will develop an educational fundraising program that will enhance the capability of organizations to raise money on their own, as well as offer support to local organizations through fundraising education workshops and ongoing grants coaching.
            “This is one of the IHS’s proudest moments, because we know what these grants will mean to heritage organizations and their communities around the state,” said John A. Herbst, IHS president and CEO. “So many of these caretakers of our history are starved for resources, and they often labor for the cause with very limited support. At this holiday time, and as Indiana’s bicentennial approaches, it is our pleasure to present this gift to the state of Indiana.”
            Although IHS and other statewide historical organizations have collected millions of items relating to Indiana’s past, several years of research (funded by multiple Institute of Museum and Library Services grants) reveal that the majority of the state’s heritage is actually in the care of local, county and regional historical societies, museums and historic sites.
            More than 900 Indiana organizations hold collections that total more than 20 million historical objects and 424,000 linear feet of historical documents. Most of these organizations are private nonprofits that rely on volunteer leadership. Many face challenges that include governance issues, financial instability and lack of long-range planning.
            “The Indiana Historical Society is poised to provide invaluable support to our state’s local heritage organizations,” said Ace Yakey, vice president for community development at Lilly Endowment. “As these organizations strengthen their operations they will become even better curators of a precious Indiana resource – our history.”
            IHS has more than 35 years of experience supporting local historical organizations across Indiana through its Local History Services Department. Building on their commitment to training, workshops and consultations, staff in that division will administer the Indiana Heritage Support Program and coordinate its fundraising education initiative.
            “Indiana's local history organizations work hard to preserve our heritage,” said Tamara Hemmerlein of IHS Local History Services, who has implemented several IMLS-funded collections stewardship and capacity-building projects at IHS. “The Indiana Heritage Grant Program will enable LHS to respond to major needs that have been identified. We are very excited about this opportunity to help these groups further their missions.”

            For information on IHS, call (317) 232-1882 or visit