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.


  1. Protect our Indiana history -- I could possibly see chopping Inspire as with the internet there are other possible means to discover magazine articles but THERE IS NO WAY else to find our Indiana heritage. It's sacreligious to our state. The sate library's collection is easily accessible and the people working there are knowledgeable. It's a well-used part of the state library - this scenario is perfect for the old adage -- "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" LEAVE IT ALONE

  2. Please do no eliminate the Indiana State Library of Genealogy. Please protect our Indiana history and heritage. Future generations will use it, as well as, current generations of people who are researching their family genealogy and family history. It is needed and the state library's collection is very important to thousands of people today and millions of people in the future.

  3. Please do not eliminate the State Library Genealogy. Protect our Indiana history. The state's library collection is valued to thousands of people now and millions of people in future generations. People want to research their family history and their family genealogy today and in the future. Let's keep the State Library Genealogy for future generations to be able to study their Indiana family heritage and genealogy. Thank you for listening.

  4. It may seem out of place for an out of state person to want to protect this service which genealogists find so useful. After all it is not our money. However my state spends that money for our site, available to all, so I believe it is reasonable to expect Indiana, my ancestral home to do the same. I agree, LEAVE IT ALONE.

  5. It may seem out of place for an out of state person to want to protect this service which genealogists find so useful. After all it is not our money. However my state spends that money for our site, available to all, so I believe it is reasonable to expect Indiana, my ancestral home to do the same. I agree, LEAVE IT ALONE.

  6. If there was ever a time for the citizens of this state, and indeed, this country, to speak up, now is that time. Please contact your legislators on this issue that to me, is downright astounding. For a state that is supposed to be in the black as far as budget goes, this makes no sense to me. Thank you,

  7. It is not surprising that those who would re-write history first begin by removing it. Are we in the Soviet Union? The cost of maintaining it is minuscule compared to rebuilding it.

  8. We charge a service tax in several industries: food & beverage & lodging to subsidize the Colt's which is a sporting /non essential business. The library & its services sustain education past & present for everyone. The treasure of data is not re-placable. Write your representative

  9. This is an outrage to future generations. How on earth will they be able to learn from whence and from whom they came? And of course, they will need to be proficient in deciphering cursive as well. The government is doing a great disservice to our daughters and sons by these cuts.

  10. It would be a sin if the Genealogy section would be eliminated! I wrote my representative tonight. I have the feeling that they don't understand that genealogy is one of the biggest hobbies today. I'm sure the State Library gets requests for help from people looking for their Indiana "roots" on a daily basis;not just in Indiana but other states & across the world. It's bad timing as well since the Bi-Centennial will be 2016. My mother & several of her ancestors were born & are buried in Indiana. In the grand scheme of things $400,000 of the budget is not very much money & could be found elsewhere.

  11. It would be another blow to the millions of researchers who value access to records in all states. Government actually has responsibilities beyond eliminating taxes, and that includes protection of our heritage and our ability to connect with our ancestors. If I understand correctly, it was under Gov. Daniels that access through the State Health Dept. to the death certificates of important relatives was eliminated. Looks like the current governor wants to do him one "better." Genealogists in Indiana need a strong lobbying organization! Vernon Threlkeld

  12. Please, please do not eliminate the Genealogy Dept from the State Library. I am a genealogist and I make trips to Indianapolis (where I was born and raised) to visit this wonderful library. The information in this library can not be found any where else. It is vital to keep these records so we as well as future generations know our family as well as town histories.

  13. Contatct your Represetnatives NOW re:HB 1001, the Indiana State Budget