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Message from the ILF Board of Directors, 6/12/2020

There are years that ask questions and years that answer. Zora Neale Hurston

It is time to ask important questions and search for answers. Indiana Library Federation recognizes that insidious racism does not belong in libraries or society and is counter to what libraries strive to provide in our services and programs: diversity, equity, inclusion, and open access to information.

Indiana Library Federation acknowledges that there is a persistent lack of Black voices in Indiana libraries. We recognize that we need to do more to help libraries be authentically inclusive. The recent events in our nation and state add to an already painful history, and they underscore the necessity to end the systemic problem of racism and oppression.
Libraries are called to support groups concerned with resisting abridgement of free expression and free access to ideas
(Library Bill of Rights). We are committed to the use of the tools of democracy including protest and advocacy to make change.

To that end, ILF calls on libraries to do the following:

  • Explore and read anti-racist voices
  • Review policies to eliminate bias
  • Audit collections to ensure Black voices are integrated
  • Create displays that challenge racism
  • Facilitate dialogue that allows people to challenge their own implicit bias
  • Include Black authors in book discussion choices
  • Transform information literacy from tokenized curricula to authentic inclusion
  • Foster democracy through tools of voter registration, Census participation, voting, and engagement with policymakers

We, at the Indiana Library Federation Board, are creating an Ad Hoc Work Group to focus on a review of how we can improve and what concrete actions ILF can take. There is much work to do beyond featuring diverse speakers, providing implicit bias training, and promoting diverse narratives. Latrice Booker, ILF VP and Dean of IU-Northwest Libraries, will chair the effort. If you are interested in participating in this work group, please complete the ILF volunteer form. We will report on our efforts through our newsletter and emails.

Black Lives Matter

Indiana Library Federation Board of Directors

PL2030 and Uncertain Times 
by Melissa Merida, Director, The Floyd County Public Library &
Edra Waterman, Director, Hamilton East Public Library, co-chairs of the PL2030 Committee

Now more than ever, thriving public libraries are essential as our communities move forward into an uncertain future.  As we discuss matters related to policy in our state today, it is clear that not all of our citizens and decision makers truly understand what public libraries should be and are doing to reflect and support the needs of their community members.  Public libraries, our operations, and our public funding mechanisms are increasingly coming under scrutiny in Indiana, especially as tax caps and other legislative changes have created an increasingly competitive environment for available tax dollars.  PL2030 was formed to honestly and unflinchingly look at ourselves, look at what our laws say we do vs what we really do, and help chart a path forward for public library long-term success that includes sustainable funding, meaningful standards of service, and a shared commitment to all Hoosiers having access to a thriving public library. In our post-COVID reality, this effort has become even more critical.   

Over the past several months, members of our PL2030 group, representatives from public libraries all around Indiana, have been immersed in data, working to determine how to identify criteria that indicate a library is thriving, and what may indicate a library is in need of additional support.  We have used this to develop a self-assessment for libraries to use as one way to not only identify how they are succeeding, but also to identify specific actions that can be taken to be even better.   Sharing the results of Indiana libraries’ individual assessments with ILF will allow us to identify trends and patterns that will help shape ILF’s work on behalf of all of our Indiana Public Libraries.  This information will position us to focus training and support where it’s most needed, to offer opportunities for libraries to share their success and best practices, and to shape our messages to build awareness and support among all of our important stakeholders including library employees, community members, and elected officials.   

We had an amazing success this year sharing information and building relationships with our state legislators resulting in the unanimous passage of SEA 410.  We want decisions by lawmakers about libraries to continue to be based on sound data and solid library experiences and relationships. We want our decision-makers to see the public library not as a drain on funds for other purposes but as an essential partner in economic development, literacy, workforce development, and quality of place.  COVID-19 and its impact on all of us only heightens the urgency of our need as a public library community exactly that.  

ILF has been there for Indiana Libraries to support and connect libraries this crisis, but even when library doors reopen, there is another crisis coming. The next challenge will be the economic impact of COVID-19 on Indiana libraries and this is a crisis we need YOU to lead in by completing the PL2030 survey. With those survey results, we will be ready, together, to help Indiana libraries be resilient for years into the future. 
Learn more at   

Indiana Libraries and the COVID-19 Global Pandemic

Indiana Library Federation commends libraries that closed to the public during this period of emergency. We understand that early decisions to close were made carefully to protect the health and safety of the public. We understand that reducing services and closing a library, school, or university to the public are very difficult decisions. Indiana residents rely on libraries as trusted community partners that provide credible information and essential services that help children and adults of all ages learn, create, and collaborate in communities.

Governor Holcomb's first declared the health emergency on March 6, and has issued additional executive orders since. As of March 19, all of Indiana’s 289 school districts and most of the 236 public library systems are closed to the public for in-person meetings, instruction, and services. Most Indiana colleges and universities have transitioned to online instruction. A new executive order issued 3/23 further limits travel to essential for 3/25-4/6. The next two weeks are critical to slow community spread.

Indiana's libraries are working to serve communities by promoting and explaining eResources, helping fellow faculty with online instruction, streaming storytimes and programs, and finding ways to support their communities online. A range of resources is available during this period of maximized social distancing and shelter-in-place practices:

  • Public libraries are providing a range of electronic resources during this challenging time, and are planning for how services will change when restrictions are lifted. Most libraries provide 24/7 online access to quality sources of educational and recreational reading, videos, music, games, and even online classes. Check your local library’s website.
  • School librarians are sharing electronic resources with students and parents, and are coaching fellow teachers on how to maximize online educational resources such as meeting and recording software, activities for children.
  • Academic libraries are providing increased support to students and faculty as they navigate the transition from in-person to an exclusively online learning environment.
  • A special library, the Indiana State Library, continues Ask-a-Librarian, INSPIRE online library with databases for research, family search, Indiana newspapers, and so much more.

Library services will resume, and they will likely be different going forward. The modern library is so much more than a building with books. Indiana’s libraries have digital resources and trained staff to keep the public informed, educated, and entertained through this unprecedented time. While temporarily closed to the public, libraries are finding ways to meet the changing needs in communities.

We at Indiana Library Federation are working to support the Indiana library community during this pandemic, through leadership, consolidating information, networking and sharing sessions, and helping library leaders plan for the future--however it may evolve. 


The Connectedness to Technical Services

Technical Services departments are challenged by a range of issues that are internal to the library AND that impact the library customer experience. Other staff may not understand the role or responsibilities for technical services or the ways in which changes in policies can impact library services. Technical services enables the ingest, description, organization, and retrieval of print, digital and increasingly “non-publication” materials. Think internal logistics for all things borrowed in a library.

What’s in a name?  Leaders in technical services recognize the challenge of the abbreviated name “tech services.”  Technical services staff most often are responsible for the “stuff” purchased or received for the library collection. Some Tech Services Departments have rebranded as “Material Services” or “Collections and Digital Services” or may include words like acquisitions, information, or cataloguing. What name do you think best conveys the work of Technical Services?

The ILF Technical Services Division Leadership Team members shared why issues sometimes may be political with a small “p.” Whether an interdepartmental conflict about labeling, leveling, gift acceptance, digitization, or weeding, most tech services staff simply carry out policies developed and adopted by others. Here are three common misconceptions tech services staff want to help others understand:

  1. Technical services is not an island—it is the hub of a wheel. Tech Services is inter-related to all departments in a library. Are you creating a maker space or a library of things? Ask tech services early to explore best practices before cataloguing the first items. Are parents demanding labels with Lexile levels in the children’s section? Convene a collaborative meeting with multiple departments to consider all aspects of labeling, including intellectual freedom issues.
  2. Donated materials are not free. While donated items—especially for the local collection—may appear free, there are significant costs to assessing against the collection development policy and mission, cleaning, cataloguing, digitizing, storing, preserving, and maintaining the materials.
  3. Library technical services is not IT. Tech Services manage the stuff people check out and access in libraries—particularly how items are classified, recorded and tracked in the library’s Integrated Library System (ILS). While they use sophisticated technology to complete their work, they are not the IT department.

The ILF Technical Services Division Leadership Team will host a virtual exchange on March 19 to discuss the connectedness of, and sometimes the politics of, technical services. We invite managers and staff from all departments and all types of libraries to share experiences of unintended consequences of certain decisions, as well as of strategies that have led to success. All are invited to participate, to listen, and to learn.

This article is a product of the ILF Technical Services Division Leadership Team members present at the 2/12/2020 meeting.

Robbi Caldwell

Renew Yourself
By Robbi Caldwell, Youth Services Division Chair

Summer reading! I both love planning out this time of year and am so ready when it’s over.

Excitement! Summer is a library’s perfect time to shine. Summer reading sees our doors fly open with all ages of people tr
aipsing up and down our aisles day in and day out. Our highest program numbers often come during the summer. Our highest circulation numbers are often thanks to summer reading. At my library, in particular, there are patrons we only see in the summer. And we are grateful. Any chance to make a positive contact with a patron is one we welcome. We all know that reading curbs the summer slide, improves comprehension, and gives us a chance to step into someone else’s life, building empathy. 1 And summer reading is our chance to shout it from the rooftops! We shout it when we’re trying to get families registered, when we’re doing any of our many summer reading programs, and especially when we’re helping patrons find books. In many ways, summer is the BEST!

So why are we exhausted? Libraries work tirelessly over the summer, all 428 branches of Indiana’s 236 public libraries. They plan active programs that go beyond storytime. How many times have you heard librarians buzzing about STEM programs, coding, makerspaces, and other programming that requires additional specialized knowledge? On top of all of our extra, such as extra people in the building, extra programming, extra desk duties, many librarians wear multiple hats and still have a plethora of other regular tasks they need to do, too. Libraries are doing so much more than our neighbors realize. Because nearly half of all Indiana children qualify for free or reduced lunches during the school year2, some libraries host summer meals for children in the summer. Because many children are “too old” for child care and “too young” to be left alone, many libraries become the pre-teen hangout, whether their policy allows for that or not. Teens bring the siblings and neighbors they are babysitting. We welcome all and it can be exhilarating and exhausting to provide young people the right experience to hook them on lifelong learning at the library.

How do we renew ourselves? As summer reading is wrapping up, it’s time to get energized again. Register for the ILF Youth Services Conference, scheduled for Aug. 25-26 in Carmel. The Youth Services conference gives me a chance to get together with my peers from around the state to share experiences, laugh, learn, and exchange ideas. I always leave the conference feeling better and excited for what’s next at my library. As the chair of the Youth Services Division Leadership Team, I encourage library staff working with youth to attend. It’s an invaluable experience. I encourage managers, administrators, and directors to send their youth staff and have them come back renewed with ideas ready to chat. I cannot tell you how many amazing brainstorming sessions our library staff has had with our administration that stemmed from professional development. Don’t forget - when you join ILF, select the Youth Services Division and stay up to date on what’s happening with youth services across our state. Have a great idea? Have a question? Reach out to me. Hope to see you at the conference!

1 See summary of research in Adopting a Summer Learning Approach for Increased Impact: a YALSA Position Paper, by Beth Yoke, with contributions from Linda W. Braun, 2016

See Indiana Youth Institute’s Kids Count Data Center, 2017 data, showing 47% children on free and reduced lunch,,870,573,869,36,868,867,133,38,35/1279,1280,1281/13762,11655


Becca Neel

The Magic when School, Public, and Academic Librarians Work Together
Becca Neel, Online Learning Librarian at University of Southern Indiana

How do you support a high school student who is enrolled in a dual credit course when they ask for help at your school or public library…and when you don’t have access to the course materials or databases they are expected to use? Earlier this week, University of Southern Indiana hosted a conference where school, public, and academic librarians joined forces to support high school students enrolled in dual credit courses. I am proud to have collaborated with Gayle Kiesel and Paula Harmon of Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, and Andrea Wright here at USI in developing content that aligns the ACRL and AASL Standards (see ACRL-AASL sample excerpt).

Why is this type of cross-institutional collaboration so important? First, the State of Indiana has prioritized increasing dual credit enrollment for many reasons, including:

  • Students who earn college credit in high school are more likely to go to college, to succeed in college and to graduate on time or early.
  • Nearly one-third of all dual credit earners are low-income students.
  • Black and Hispanic students who take dual credit courses in high school are more likely to graduate on time.
  • Dual credit saves Hoosier students up to $69 million, an average of $1,600 per student over the course of their postsecondary education. (See InfoGraphic: IN Commission on Higher Education, Early College Credit, January 2019, page 2.)

Second, students need a full academic support system to succeed. USI has offered its College Achievement Program (CAP) since 1985. In accordance with NACEP accreditation standards, USI provides access to CAP-enrolled students to an array of support services on campus and online. Librarians at USI’s David Rice Library work directly with high school dual credit instructors and school librarians so that dual credit students have the same access to collegiate supportive services as if they were on campus. As an academic librarian, here are a few of the ways I collaborate with high school and public librarians to support dual credit students across high schools.

  • Develop LibGuides to support each course, providing direct links into the types of academic databases needed to support dual credit course. LibGuides provide an easy way to organize resources and tools specific to a course, and allow us to embed helpful instructions for understanding the information.
  • Provide training on and access to the scholarly databases available through the David Rice Library, so that the high school dual credit instructors, school librarians and public librarians can support the students with their homework assignments.
  • Review the Inter-Library Loan processes for physical and electronic items available to dual credit students and instructors.

I am thrilled that the Indiana Library Federation has prioritized working on the school-to-college transition, growing out of collaborations like LILAC and a dialogue between school and academic librarians. If you would like to join this discussion, register for our next meeting or feel free to contact me at

Malcolm McBryde headshotHelp Us Tell the Story of Indiana Libraries
By Malcolm McBryde, Communications Committee Chair
National Library Month is winding down, and Indiana libraries have been engaged for the past few weeks in reminding people of how fun, useful and educational we are.

While individual libraries focus on that message each April, the Indiana Library Federation does it on behalf of all of us year-round. I'm thinking, for example, of several initiatives that ILF has been working on for the past year or so that are always available to help member libraries tell their stories:
  • A photo and video bank built from a contest ILF ran during 2018. Looking for images you can use in a brochure or on your website? Want to make sure that it looks and is real? Even better, that the people you see in those photos actually live in Indiana and are being portrayed in Indiana libraries? ILF has it, and you can find it here. We've even gotten photo releases from the subjects of the photos, so using these resources is as simple as logging in to the ILF website and downloading them.
  • Tired of providing free advertising for a car dealer on your personal vehicle? Want to boost your library and libraries in general? Here's your chance. Contact the ILF for free “I Love My Library” license-plate brackets you can give to your staff and/or your patrons. We had a boxful of them here in Huntington, and after handing out several to staff, we put them out on the circ desk. Patrons cleaned us out in three days. My family has them on both our daily drivers. Call the ILF or email Tisa Davis for your own supply.
  • There's no reason why every month can't be National Library Month and every day can't be National Library Day at your house.  Consider your own I  My Library yard sign campaign. There are many vendors that print and ship signs at different rates, with optional customization (see 3/28 issue for sample vendors).  Call ILF or email Tisa. Here's a video that shows the signs in action.
  •  Take advantage of ILF's Libraries Transform Indiana campaign materials, available to members on the federation's website. There are a series of “Because” posters (“Because Indiana's public libraries help people find jobs every day,” for example) in a variety of formats (postcard, Facebook, screensaver) and in both English and Spanish that you can download. Don't like the jpeg format? ILF can get it to you in other ways, just contact Tisa.

The group within ILF that shepherds and advises on these resources is the Communications Committee, of which I am currently chair. We're made up of communication and marketing specialists from libraries all over Indiana, and we get together a handful of times each year to talk about ways we can elevate Indiana libraries, serve our existing patrons better and bring new patrons in. If you've got ideas about how we can demonstrate our value our constituencies, we'd love to hear them--just email me or Tisa Davis. We'll work with the committee to bring them to life.

Also, we're looking for a new committee member to help us with this important work. If you know of someone in a library who works in communications and marketing or who has a background in one of those fields or if you're such a person yourself, we'd love to hear from you. Again, just email Tisa or me.

We all know that public perception of libraries has barely kept pace with the reality. Many folks still see our facilities as public study halls--places full of books where the main thing that goes on is trying to stay quiet. It's true about the books and always will be. Help us to tell Indiana residents about the thousands of additional ways we benefit their communities.

Malcolm McBryde is assistant director for operations at Huntington City-Township Public Library, Huntington, Indiana, and chair of the ILF Communications Committee.


Beth Munk

By ILF's ALA Councilor Beth Munk
As your elected ALA Councilor, I wanted to share some of the information from the Midwinter Conference held at the end of January in Seattle, WA. ALA’s Midwinter event is where many committees conduct their work and of course it’s when the ALA Book Awards are announced.   All of this is interwoven with the hundreds of educational sessions you can attend to better prepare yourself to serve your community.    

Some key discussions this year were centered around the language we use and a need to transition to “person” first terminology, the elimination of fines and of course the continued work to restructure ALA as an organization and in practice.   Many businesses and organizations are working towards person-first language (i.e. child with autism rather tha
n autistic child), because they know that the way we talk or write about people can greatly influence the way we or others see or feel about them, leaving either a positive or negative impression. At my library, this is a discussion we will have as policies are rewritten and our marketing manager promotes our services.  As of January 1st, the Kendallville Public Library transitioned to a fine free model and I know many other libraries around Indiana have done the same.  These discussions remind me that the trends we see around the country are mirrored here in Indiana and in a lot of ways we’re even ahead of the game.    

Late last year, I was recommended to serve on the State Ecosystem Task Force of the Committee on Library Advocacy, which aims to build stronger coalitions between state chapters, school affiliates and academic chapters at the state level. In many states, chapters and affiliates for academic, public and school libraries are separate, and in lots of cases, struggling.  This is one of the examples where we are ahead of the game, and our 2017 strategic planning highlighted the importance of increased cross-sector work h
as set us up for success.   In Indiana, we are united as one statewide library association, with a mission to lead, educate and advocate to advance library services for the benefit of all Indiana residents.  While we’re not perfect, we know that the needs of the libraries, all libraries, are more alike than different, and having a unified voice makes each and every one of us stronger.   Having served on ALA committees before, I was most excited about the tangible work products that this task force seeks to create. Upon the completion of our eighteen months, we will create a self-assessment tool to be used in each state, as well as a template for a multi-year strategy to focus on state ecosystem impact and sustainability.  

Finally, it’s important to note that the Library Bill of Rights was revised for the first time since 1980, addressing privacy issues. The current copy can be found at and serves as a great reminder that i t is important that we all revisit our own privacy practices.


Advocacy and RelationshipsKristi Howe and legislators
by Kristi Howe, Vigo County Public Library Director
& ILF Advocacy Committee Co-chair
There are many definitions for the word advocacy, but I would like to share the definition provided by the American Association for School Librarians.

Advocacy is the on-going process of building partnerships so that others will act for and with you, turning passive support into educated action for the library program.

There is so much to break down in that definition!  On-going process, building partnerships, others will act for and with you…these really illustrate the challenges we face and need for relationship development. 

I cannot emphasis strongly enough the importance of partnerships (or relationships) as we advocate for Indiana libraries.  As co-chair for the ILF Advocacy committee, I can tell you that our committee frequently discusses bills and policy priorities; we keep up with the bustle of the statehouse and we seek assistance from our paid advocates and ILF staff.  We follow committee hearings and conduct trainings, and we research the potential implications of proposed legislation.  All of this is important work, but it will accomplish very little if we do not have meaningful relationships with each other, with our communities, and with our elected officials. 

The ability to build and maintain relationships is essential to effective advocacy.  We need to get to know our community leaders and participate in collaborative conversations about our cities and towns.  In forming connections, we can build trust and be seen as reliable and credible.  Getting to know people can be difficult, especially if you have differing views on important issues.  Instead of building strong partnerships, we are often tempted to overwhelm council members, mayors, and state officials with information …after all, we’re information professionals!  However, too much raw data, policy language, etc., can actually backfire when personal relationships are missing. 

I’ve always disliked the old adage “It’s not what you know, but who you know…” as I feel like it gives too much credit to socio-economic status and not enough to hard work and education.  I might, though, suggest that in advocacy, both are essential.  When the time comes for you to ask your local and state officials to listen as you share information and expertise, it will be important that they know you.

So, I encourage you to commit to the on-going process of relationship building!  Reach out to your local leaders, build rapport with your community members, and get to know your “opponents,” too.  A disagreement on one issue does not negate the importance of relationship and common ground.  Invite folks to visit your library, but be willing to go out and meet them on their turf!  Attend council meetings and meet legislators at Third House events in your area.  Share your progress with the ILF office, join us for the next Zoom meeting (January 28), and plan to attend the Statehouse Day on March 12.  And perhaps most importantly, if you don’t know where to start or need some help, please ask - ILF staff and Advocacy committee members are here to help.

Photo at top left
, from left to right, Sen. Jon Ford, Rep. Tonya Pfaff, Kristi Howe and Rep. Bruce Borders at the Jan. 12 Third House session.

Thoughts from the ILF staff:

With a full calendar of ILF activities served by 3.2 FTE (full-time equivalents), your ILF paid  staff of five rarely is in the same room. During our December meeting, staff shared what we appreciate about each other, the highlights of 2018 and our goals for 2019. We share a passion for libraries and our ILF mission and goals. Our members might be interested to learn that we…
  • Appreciate Tisa’s friendly personality, Dave’s dry sense of humor, Mandy’s detailed spreadsheets, Megan’s attention to members and details and Lucinda’s drive and commitment;
  • Celebrate our 2018 accomplishments, citing our work with members on the school library report, supervised visits, strong conference content, a clean audit and a strong financial report; and
  • Look forward to 2019 as we engage more deeply with members, plan outstanding conference experiences and work to elevate libraries through strategic advocacy and communications. (See 2019 Goals and Calendar.)
We value your membership and participation in ILF. We enjoy getting to know each of you and the meaningful ways you serve your patrons and students. You may be surprised that we get “giddy” at the opportunity to make magic with our members. We ring a bell, shake a clapper and dance around the office. You may see this in a Zoom session in 2019.
In service to--and with--our members in advancing libraries for our Indiana neighbors,  
Lucinda, Tisa, Megan, Mandy and Dave


Stephanie Davis

ILF Leadership by Stephanie Davis, ILF Board Treasurer

The ILF officer ballot in my inbox was a gentle reminder that my time on the ILF Board as treasurer is coming to an end.  For every challenge, the past four years brought, there was also an opportunity.

Understanding non-profit bookkeeping and financials was a bit of an adjustment. Thus, the rationale for a 4-year term!  As library director, I dealt with finances daily, but every organization has its own laws, policies, and terminology.  My experience gave me insight into the adjustment that my library board members go through learning the ins and outs of library finances.  My opportunity to sit on the other side of the table prompted me to improve my library’s board orientation process and material. 

Early in my term, the board was faced with the challenge of hiring a new executive director.  I learned first-hand about the depth and breadth of this primary responsibility of every organizational board.  I have spent numerous years on boards and took this primary duty for granted as I have never before had to replace a leader.  I have hired a great number of library employees in my career, but I was hiring people to work in an environment that I knew, understand and controlled.   Sharing this important responsibility with other board members, all coming from different work environments, to hire a person to do a job that none of us have actually done, in an office we have only ever visited, is quite a different challenge.  Actually choosing a candidate for the job was the easy part.  Feeling prepared to make that decision was most difficult.  Getting our policies and finances in order and becoming knowledgeable enough about the job we were asking the candidate to do was the hard work.  This opportunity could not have come at a better time for me as I was preparing to retire and entrust my board to carry out this very process.  I understood their burden and what they needed to know to be successful. 

In 2014, I decided to run for ILF assistant treasurer for two main reasons.  I wanted to give back to my profession.  In my 30 years in the public library, I have benefited tremendously from ILF.  I always looked forward to conferences to meet and share with fellow librarians doing what I do in their own libraries.  I anticipated being inspired by authors and professionals in the field.  I couldn’t wait to meet with vendors to see what was new and innovative.  All those years I have benefited from the work of those before me who had served on the board and helped make my opportunities possible.  It seemed to be my time to serve you.

Secondly, I planned to retire during my board term and I thought that my ILF involvement would help ease the transition from library director to library patron.  It would keep me from missing my work. 

Did I succeed in my goals?  Yes and no.  I have truly enjoyed my time on the board, but I certainly gained more than I gave.  What I learned greatly helped make my retirement and succession process a very successful and positive experience.  I have enjoyed my continued contact with librarians and have appreciated the opportunity to work with the executive director beyond the hiring process.  However, I do feel that this is a good time to hand over the position to an active librarian. While I certainly had my experiences to draw from, not having current involvement does distance me from many of the conversations at the board table.  Perfect timing for the changing of the guard!  So, check your own inboxes and vote today. Then next year consider adding your own name to the ballot. It is an amazing opportunity!  


Chad Heck

Banned Books Week
by Chad Heck, Intellectual Freedom Cmte. Chair

Banned Books Week is upon us—one of the times of the year where librarians educate our populations about censorship and the freedom to read. Interestingly, in the current climate, there have been calls to ban books based not on their content, but on the character of the authors of the books. The #MeToo movement is upon us, and now there are calls to remove books by popular authors who have faced allegations of sexual harassment. The ALA’s 2017 list of most frequently challenged books is topped by two such authors who have faced allegations. The two books, Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian were on the list prior to the public allegations. Librarian listservs and discussion groups were abuzz after the allegations came forward about whether collecting these books is an endorsement of these authors. In short, it’s not. In the ALA’s Freedom to Read Statement, it affirms: “It is contrary to the public interest for . . . librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history . . . of the author.”

During Banned Books week and all year long that librarians are champions of intellectual freedom. It is our responsibility not only to champion the cause of fighting censorship, but also to educate our patrons about their freedom to read and make sure that our own policies and practices do not perpetuate biases in our libraries. It is also very important to report efforts of censorship, both successful and unsuccessful, by filling out this form from the American Library Association. Remember the theme from this year’s Banned Books Week: “Banning books silences stories. Speak out!”

If intellectual freedom issues or questions come up in your library, please contact the committee or office.

Chad Heck, School Librarian, Pike High School-Freshman Campus
Co-Chair, ILF Ad Hoc Committee on Intellectual Freedom 


Fun committee and the "conference experience"
By: Beka Lemons, Huntington City-Township Public Library, Director

Annual conference registration time is upon us again. This will be my fourth annual ILF conference and as I look forward to it I am also reflecting on the first conference I attended as a new-comer. Four years ago I moved to Indiana from Wisconsin and I didn’t know anyone or have any connections. My first annual conference came just a few months after my move and I was anxious about the experience. Would I be able to talk to people? Would they welcome me? Would I feel left out? Would I know what to do and where to go?

I can honestly say that the conference experience that I had was overwhelmingly wonderful. Everyone was friendly, the conference was excellent, and I walked away feeling like I was truly a part of Indiana libraries. I had the chance to meet library people from all over the spectrum. I formed relationships with academic, school, and public libraries that last to this day. The next spring brought regional conferences and even more opportunities to meet people and learn new things. I felt so welcomed throughout these experiences that I immediately took the opportunity to present at conferences, become part of the management division, and eventually become part of the ILF Board.

I always take every opportunity that I can to attend ILF sponsored conferences, or to send my staff to them. Be it the annual conference, regional conferences, Youth Services Division conference, Fall Forum, or even the online virtual exchanges; I have always found value in ILF Professional Development opportunities. We always come back from conference energized with new ideas and new skills.

This year we are aiming to make the annual conference an even better experience as we roll out our first ever ‘fun committee’.  Zionsville’s Sarah Moore and I are going to be hosting a trivia night on Tuesday night that will be free for everyone. We are also planning fun games and activities throughout the conference.

I urge you to take advantage of all of the offerings that are available to you at the annual conference from educational sessions to networking opportunities to dinners to the fun new offerings.

Please come and be a part of our Indiana Library Federation family. We are looking forward to seeing you all.

Beka Lemons, ILF Board Member
Director, Huntington City-Township Public Library 


Diane Rogers

School Library Census
By Diane Rogers

Over the last week, you may have received an email from ILF with links to the preliminary draft of the school library census report.  In case 
you did not receive it or if you overlooked it here is the link to access the full report.  

The ILF Board and AISLE Advisory Board request feedback before we finalize a report for a wider audience. I also invite you to contact me or any member of the ILF board  with more extensive comments.  


The last six months have been filled with hard work by many ILF members trying to capture accurate information for this survey.  The census contains data from about 80% of public school districts in Indiana and many individual public, charter and private schools.  This is an amazing completion rate for surveys of this kind and is a testament to everyone involved.  The state of school libraries is changing daily, and has changed drastically over the last 10 years.  There have been recent posts and articles in the ALA Connect, AASL Knowledge Quest, and Ed Week about the reduction across the nation of school librarians.  All libraries are dependent upon the success of each other.  School age children need school librarians training them how to be information literate and showing them the importance of libraries not only to their future learning, but to democracy and our nation's prosperity.


For me, the report confirmed what many of us already knew in AISLE.  We have heard members worry about staff reductions, changing job titles and the adding of responsibilities.  There are so many changes to Indiana's education community with the increase in the number of schools going 1:1 with computer devices, the changing landscape of testing and the new "Graduation Pathways", and the ever looming clouds of letter grades and property tax referendums.  School librarians need the larger library community to help us show everyone that school libraries are important and that they are needed.


I invite you to read the report and respond with feedback.  ILF wants and needs you involved. Please send feedback to the ILF office by August 8. Then, look for next steps in following ILF newsletters.


Diane Rogers
Media Specialist, Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center
AISLE Advisory Board Vice-Chair


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