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August 25, 2020  Your Voice Matters

We heard you. And now we need more input. Members and library stakeholders asked Indiana Library Federation (ILF) to be proactive in advocacy for libraries. Library advocacy is one of our most important roles as your state association. Members reaffirmed this in the ILF Membership Survey completed in June, where library advocacy ranked as THE MOST VALUED service that ILF provides. 

The ILF Advocacy Committee is responsible for shaping the policy priority agenda for library advocacy with policy makers. How do we do that?  We pay attention to issues and trends in taxation, economy, technology, and library services. We listen to our members and key stakeholders throughout the year. And we conduct a formal policy priority survey every summer to shape our specific initiatives for the following session of the Indiana General Assembly.

Earlier this year, Indiana Library Federation was successful in leading a piece of legislation through from ideation to unanimous votes at every step during the 2020 session. Our work on SEA410 and in the statehouse elevated libraries before policymakers. This gave us momentum to consider bigger initiatives that we can lead for thriving libraries in the future.

As you all know, the global pandemic of COVID-19 shifted all of our attention and changes everything.

While much remains uncertain, we KNOW that libraries, services, and budgets will not "go back to normal." Unemployment was at its worst since the Great Depression. Tax revenues are down. State agencies are asked to cut 15%. And schools and colleges are bracing for reduced student headcount and/or 5% - 20% cuts. Public libraries are bracing for increased competition for limited local resources.

And yet, we remain hopeful for the future. The pandemic underscored the need for expanded broadband. The pandemic shines a light on how libraries are innovating and evolving services to meet the changing needs in communities. Libraries are collaborating and sharing resources in ways that steward shrinking tax dollars and maximize impact for residents. Our library community has been innovative, collaborative, and a beacon of light for our neighbors in need.

Your input is critical to our collective success. Please take about 10 minutes to complete the ILF public policy survey. To understand more about the process before you take the survey, you may watch this quick video.


 April 21, 2020

We {heart} Our LibrariesDuring this National Library Week, we celebrate how Indiana's libraries are rising to the occasion in meeting the changing needs of their communities. 

Librarians have always been good collaborators. The COVID-19 pandemic spurred additional collaborations and innovations. Academic, school and public libraries are sharing resources to meet the needs of students, patrons, and residents. Every day since March 16, Indiana Library Federation has facilitated "Networking and Sharing" sessions between different staff in Indiana libraries. These online meetings have served in equal parts as best practice sharing, tools and tips, and support groups. Below are a few of the collaborations we have heard from different libraries. 

  • School librarians are working to meet the challenge of supporting all teachers and students with digital resources, and teaching fellow faculty best practices in online instruction. School librarians work to address their students' well-being, the digital divide, and basic needs, in addition to their educational needs. School and academic librarians collaborate around dual credit completion for their shared high school students. School and public librarians collaborate by sharing electronic resources, and innovative ways for people of all ages to participate in Young Hoosier Book Award, Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award, and the Read Aloud Indiana programs.
  • Academic librarians have converted their instruction and support to online, supporting faculty and students who were not prepared for 100% online instruction. Academic librarians are exploring ways to partners with public libraries so that college students may return college library books or to access the internet and resources through their hometown public libraries. 
  • Public librarians have converted in-person programs to virtual programs, expanded their digital collections, enrolled new e-card users, and amped their Wi-Fi to the parking lots. Libraries are preparing staff to help residents who will need unemployment insurance, re-training, and job search assistance.  Public libraries have collaborated with local units of government and nonprofits to help staff and support needed functions. Innovative collaborations include teaching local units how to host public meetings online, creating PPE for local healthcare industry in library Makerspaces, sharing iPads so that nursing home residents may "see" family online, hosting blood drives and food distributions, and providing "contactless document services" to fax in verification pages for unemployment, SNAP, or health coverage. 

Library services will continue to evolve because libraries respond to the needs in their communities. Join with us in celebrating Indiana's libraries this National Library Week. 

January 21, 2020

Next Monday, January 27, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. To honor the legacy of survivor Eva Kor, Governor Holcomb proclaimed it Eva Education Day. Our partner, WFYI Public Media, provided DVDs of the documentary Eva: A-7063 and supplemental materials to all public libraries, and middle and high schools. Libraries and schools across the state are planning screenings and educational activities. For example, Belmont and Adams Central High Schools have partnered with a local movie theater to offer two showings on 1/27. Indianapolis Public Library is offering screenings at branches throughout the city.


What can YOU do:



December 3, 2019
A "Library of Trees" - Helping Those in Need
The Frankfort Community Public Library is excited to carry on a former Wesley Manor event – their holiday tree exhibit. The Wesley Manor Retirement Community began this exhibit several years ago, but recently decided to concentrate on other events and programs. With the Manor’s permission, the Library is hosting, “A Library of Trees” from November 17 through January 2.

The Library invited several community organizations to decorate a holiday tree that reflects their mission or purpose, a favorite holiday memory, or a current event. The 15 trees (plus two Library-themed trees) are located in the Circulation Area, at the front of the library, lining the windows to create a winter wonderland as patrons walk through the main floor of the library. Patrons are also able to stroll or drive by the library and see the trees from the outside.

Patrons can then vote for their favorite trees by donating new hats, gloves/mittens, scarves, and/or canned food items. A decorated collection box with the community organization's name is located beside their tree. At the end of voting, food items will be taken to the local Salvation Army, and clothing items will be placed on their “Giving Tree” during the month of January for patrons’ use.

October 23, 2019

Spotlight on ILF Book Awards and Indiana Authors

Each year, over 100 ILF members contribute tens to hundreds of hours reading, reviewing and rating newer releases ideal to foster a love of reading for fun and reading aloud through the ILF Book Award programs:  Young Hoosier Book Awards (YHBA), Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Award (Rosies) and Read Alouds . Students vote for their YHBA and Rosie favorites, and the winner is invited to accept an award at our Annual Conference. On Nov. 5, two winners will speak at the ILF Conference: Lynn Plourde, author of Intermediate winner Maxi’s Secret , and Emmy Laybourne, author of Rosie winner Sweet. The ILF Conference also features Jason Reynolds and Meg Medina, authors on prior Rosie lists, as well as Indiana Poet Laureate Adrian Matejka and author Saundra Mitchell.


Re-familiarize yourself with the Indiana Library Federation Book Award programs:

  •  Young Hoosier Book Award lists in three categories of Picture Book, Intermediate and Middle Grades.
  •  Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award  nominees include a variety of genres that will appeal to any high school student, as well as adults who love Young Adult literature.
  •  Read Alouds identify recent releases ideal for reading aloud in five categories: Primary, Upper Elementary, Middle Grade, High School and Ageless.  

Thanks to sponsors, all ILF Annual conference registrants may look forward to receiving information about the ILF 2020-2021 lists to prepare their libraries and programming in the next year.


And, through a partnership with Indiana Humanities, conference attendees will learn about the new Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards. Libraries will be challenged to prioritize inclusion of Indiana authors in book clubs, discussion groups and programming in 2020.


What YOU can do: Share your love of reading. Tell someone about a recent release. Share the lists. Help someone new download an eBook.


August 27, 2019

Libraries and the 2020 Census

Libraries play a critical role with the Census--and especially in 2020. Indiana Library Federation thinks strategically about library services in terms of Census data. You may have seen this slide about population and workforce trends in many ILF presentations. At left offers a graphic about the estimated changes in population by township, where greenish townships have gained population, and orange/reddish townships have lost population. A complete and accurate count of the total population is critically important to finances and representation and local communities. It is estimated that for every person missed in the count, Indiana will lose $10,000 in federal funds over the next decade. We want to make sure that all persons of all ages residing in the state are counted to ensure we receive our "fair share" of federal funds and congressional representation.

Please note that children birth to age 4 and those ages 5-9 are the two age groups most likely to be under-counted, with Black and Hispanic young children having a higher net under-count than other children. One in five children were missed because their family did not return the form; four in five lived in families who returned the form but did not include the young child on it.

Libraries, schools and colleges are critical to helping Indiana with a complete count. NOW is the time to plan. Visit to learn more and access resources. The graphic at left is excerpted from the 8/19 Complete Count Committee meeting presentation.

August 12, 2019

"Loads of Love Laundry"  Project

Union County Public Library trustee, Carol Reynolds McCashland is a retired school teacher who after years of teaching elementary school saw a need for a free laundry program for the residents in Union County.

Now, current library card holders of Union County may wash up to four loads (four top load washers or two top load washers and one extra-lard load washer) per family for free on Wednesdays from 8:30 am to 5 pm at the Liberty Laundry Mat during the month of August. Residents may use as many dryers as necessary. Library staff are on hand to check library cards and put the money in the machines. Residents must provide their own laundry supplies.

On August 6, the Union County Public Library offered their first free wash day for Union County residents. Seventeen families took advantage of the program and six signed up as new library patrons. Library Director Karen Kahl hopes to receive a grant from the local county foundation to continue the program after the end of August.


May 28, 2019

Bookflix: Learning to Read… Reading to Learn

Bookflix is an award-winning service which introduces children ages 3 - 10 to engaging, animated storybooks which are then paired with related nonfiction eBooks, designed to spark educational discoveries. Offered through Scholastic, this service is now available on several computers in the children’s section of the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library. Preschool – elementary students have been dropping by the Library to enjoy one of the 125 pairs of videos and eBooks on a wide range of topics, including animals, nature, planets, ABCs, music & celebrations. Bookflix has been available for use in the Library since last December, and in the first five months of availability the library has seen a 200% increase in use.

Children using this database have the opportunity to listen or read along with well-known actors and entertainers. The books and topics are carefully chosen to promote early literacy skills such as comprehension and vocabulary, in addition to sharing real world knowledge. Learning a second language is also encouraged with 35 pairs of eBooks in Spanish. Other features families enjoy include author biographies, and games and activities that test comprehension and reinforce vocabulary. Parents may also access parent tips and resources that help further their children’s learning.

Bookfix is not a new database; it has been around for several years and continues to improve its content over time. Library Director, Sarah Moore, encouraged staff to take another look at this product when they were re-evaluating their databases last year, and it has proven to be a worthwhile investment. The library is currently looking at offering the database to patrons outside of the library.

May 14, 2019

Helping spread the word about the value of libraries to students through collaborative programs
A “Blackout Poetry” event took place in the Edison Library of Thomas A. Edison Jr. Sr. High School in celebration of National Poetry Month. Twenty-six students from grades 6 to 12 attended the event during homeroom on April 18.

The program was a joint effort of Ms. Heidi Meyer, Edison Librarian, and Kate Gibson, Teen Services Librarian at Lake Station-New Chicago Public Library, a branch of the Lake County Public Library. Kate told students about upcoming teen programs and volunteering opportunities at the public library, and then she assisted students in combining text and art to create "blackout poetry." A blackout poem is when a poet takes a marker (usually black marker) to already established text–like in a newspaper–and starts redacting words until the poet has created a poem. The key with a blackout poem is that the text AND redacted text form a sort of visual poetry. The students loved the program so much; they were asking when Ms. Gibson would be returning to the school!

Both Heidi and Kate say this partnership works so well because they both want to help spread the word about the importance of libraries, both school and public. Heidi says she looks forward to continuing this partnership and truly hopes their efforts pay off and that students gain a greater appreciation of the value of libraries.

April 25, 2019

Three women reading booksBook Clubs To Go

The Lake County Public Library staff wanted to find a way to give a "second life" to multiple copies of former bestsellers that were still in good condition but no longer in demand. In 2008, they started lending "Book Clubs to Go" kits. The kits can be kept for six weeks and may be reserved up to 18 months in advance so that book clubs may plan in advance. The kits usually contain 15 copies (including three large print editions when available) and a resource folder with a summary, author information and discussion questions.

Their first 150 or so kits were created out of books they already had in their collection. By 2012, they had so many people clamoring for more and newer titles that library director Ingrid Norris set aside part of the book budget for purchasing kits and software to handle the reservations.

Kits are available to staff and patrons and to staff of other library systems. However, kits must be picked up and returned to a Lake County Public Library. (Sorry, no interlibrary loans.) In 2018, the kits were checked out over 600 times.

March 14, 2019

Monroe County Public Library podcast crewMonroe County Public Library starts podcast

The Monroe County Public Library does a monthly podcast. This month, they focused on Women in History.


February 26, 2019

Getting out into your communityclipart child reading to teddy bear
Once a month at Heather’s Country Care, the Kentland Public Library hosts the Little Wigglers Pre-school program. Children’s Librarian, Ashlyn Lane starts each program with a finger-play using Mother Goose or one of Marc Brown’s Playtime Rhymes. She follows this with an activity and short story, which she may read several times, and a game. Activities vary but have included such things as making slime, playing with bubbles, an M&M sorting game and ice cube races. Ashlyn says she gets her activities from one of several websites like Hands On as we grow, Teaching Mama, or Starnet STEM Activity Clearinghouse. At the end of the program, she leads the kids in a Goodbye poem, which includes fun actions. 

Ashlyn says she always brings a tub of books that she leaves at the daycare then exchanges each month. She recently got the daycare to participate in 1,000 books before kindergarten program. Heather, the daycare provider, records the books read to the children as a group. 

Ashlyn also sees this outreach as a great source for advertising. Anytime she has a program for pre-school age children, she makes sure to take along handouts for the parents and talks about the program with the children. Ashlyn says this program has been going for almost a year and she is really excited about the opportunity and hopes to do more in the future.

February 12, 2019

TRAC (Tech Resources for Awesome Careers)
At the Bedford Public Library, middle school students can explore career pathways through a career-based STEM progam called TRAC. Tech Resources for Awesome Careers (TRAC) allows students to engage with technology by showcasing an exciting STEM career with a local employer.

In one such program, students worked in groups to build "smart home" air conditioners with a local HVAC provider. Students were then asked to program their A/C units. Students have also worked with VR, drones, modular robots, CAD, injection molding, mechanics and more.

According to Director of Operations, Nathan Watson, the TRAC programs occur monthly in all three district middle schools. In total, the Library does about 31 progams a month to nearly 670 students.

January 23, 2019

Pendleton Community Library builds community relationships through combination Pendleton Community Library Read'n'Feed truckbookmobile/food pantry
Each Thursday in Pendleton, you may glimpse the Pendleton Community Library’s Read ‘n’ Feed trailer out in the community. This combination of bookmobile and mobile food pantry has been in operation for nearly 10 years now. Read ‘n’ Feed is the only food pantry in Pendleton, serving a community of over 4,000. The Read ‘n’ Feed trailer goes out every week and makes three stops. The stops last about 45 minutes, and during that time, patrons are invited to take non-perishable food items, bread and produce as well as check out library materials.

During the growing season, the Pendleton Community Garden, which is also a library project, provides fresh, locally-grown produce to the Read ‘n’ Feed program. Over the last 10 years, the Library has been fortunate to have the financial support of the United Way, South Madison Community Foundations, the Township Trustees, Marsh, Kroger and their local farmers’ market, as well as, many generous private funders. No tax dollars are ever used for the Read ‘n’ Feed program. It is 100% funded with grants and donations. 

Last year, on December 20th, Read ‘n’ Feed did a pop-up event at the local Legion, passing out food, blankets, hats, gloves, etc.  They also passed out Letters to Santa to the kids who use Read 'n' Feed. The library staff decided to sponsor the kids who wrote letters and every single item on those lists were purchased by somebody from the library staff.  

Pendleton Community Library Director, Lynn Hobbs says the Read ‘n’ Feed program has allowed them to establish relationships with their patrons and she sees it as much more than a food pantry and bookmobile for both the library and its patrons.

January 8, 2019

Valparaiso Public Library signOutdoor library learning plaza planned for Valparaiso
The proposed outdoor Library Learning Plaza is being touted as the first of its kind in the area, Porter County Library Director Jesse Butz said.

"It will provide a fairly unique concept," Butz said of the project. Read More


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