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Great Things are Happening in Indiana Libraries
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Great Things are Happening in Indiana Libraries

May 2017

Library hosts Exposium to show off academic accomplishments
The Cunningham Memorial Library events area was full of students showcasing their research and talent Thursday morning at the Exposium, a program that celebrates and encourages academic and creative work and accomplishments. Read More

April 2017

Assistant County Librarian Amy Paget Retires

 The Tippecanoe County Public Library (TCPL) announces the retirement of long-time employee Amy Paget. Amy’s 25-year career at TCPL began in 1991 at the Albert A. Wells Memorial Library. In 2004 Amy became the Assistant County Librarian. Additional responsibilities over the years included Head of Youth Services and Head of Extension Services.


“TCPL has greatly benefited from the breadth of skills, professional expertise, and integrity Amy Paget brings to her work and our operations. Many say Amy is a ‘jack of all trades,’ but she is a consummate professional who really helped TCPL day-to-day operations flow smoothly,” said County Librarian Jos N. Holman. “Her talent and fundraising skills were heavily used in her role as Planning and Development Librarian. She served as operational liaison with the Tippecanoe County Public Library Foundation for the past 15 years.


 “Amy has been a tremendous resource for the Tippecanoe County Public Library Foundation's Board of Directors,” said Foundation Board President Tony Albrecht. “Her organizational skills have been invaluable as the Foundation Board works to raise funds to support Library programs and capital needs, as well as growth of the library system.  She will be sorely missed, and we wish her well in retirement.”


On her final day at work, Wednesday, April 12, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the public is invited to share memories and good wishes with Amy. This casual event occurs in the Friends of TCPL Conference Room at the Downtown Library. Refreshments will be served.       


“Having worked here for more than 25 years, this will be a major staffing change for TCPL,” Holman said. “Although Mrs. Paget cannot be replaced, the Assistant County Librarian position is being advertised nationally and statewide. We wish Amy well in all the future adventures and endeavors she may pursue!”


Amy is active in various community activities and national organizations. She and her family plan to remain in Lafayette for the foreseeable future.


Evansville Library Named Finalist For National Honor
By Alex Brown, Multimedia Journalist

The Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington D.C. has named the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library a finalist for the National Medal For Museum and Library Service. EVPL Chief Executive Officer Cyndee Landrum says the medal is the nation's highest honor bestowed upon a library. Read More

Rushville Elementary School 
East is 'Wild About Reading' Money raised to go for new K9
By Kate Thurston Rushville Republican

It all started with a passion to help the community by Harley Abbot.

Abbott, a fifth-grader, wrote a letter after Christmas asking Austin Theobald, the principal at RES East, if they could help the sheriff’s department purchase a new K9. Read More

 Adoption program hopes to 'open hearts, change lives'
By Brent Brown Daily News

Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library held a free presentation to help outline the adoption process in Indiana in an effort to help find permanent, loving homes for foster youth.

Indiana Adoption Program adoption champion Jannie Combs was available to answer questions and detail the adoption process on March 28, at the Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library. The program will “help the community understand the adoption process, the need for adoptive homes, and the needs of children waiting to adopted,” said Anna Wolak, Indiana Adoption Program director of adoption recruitment. Read More

 Friends of the Linton Library active once again: Collecting books for babies born at GCGH

By Kelly Slaven Staff Writer, Greene County Daily World

Mary Palmer, Janis Brett and Cathie Knotts organize DVD’s for the newly purchased secure DVD cases on Monday afternoon, made possible by the Friends of the Library.

Local libraries have always needed ‘friends’ in order to properly function, according to the official website of the American Library Association. Read More

Big changes for little ones at Anderson library - Children's department renovations to cost $500,000
By Ken de la Bastide, The Herald Bulletin

There will be big changes to the children’s department at the Anderson Public Library through a planned $500,000 renovation by the end of the year.

 Sarah Later, director of the Anderson/Stony Creek Public Library, said the children's department was last remodeled in 2001. Read More

Bedford Public Library Provides STEM at Summer Meals
The Summer Meals programs provide a perfect opportunity for Bedford Public Library to provide special programming to children in the Bedford community. Throughout June and July, the Library will provide STEM projects every Wednesday, arts and crafts activities on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Bridget the Reading Dog on Mondays. STEM projects involve children in helicopter building, creating bottle cap bots, engineering mini parachutes, constructing catapults, and using circuitry. Though the projects are made on a small scale with common household objects and can be completed in a short amount of time, the thinking skills required make use of the science, technology, engineering, and math components that make up STEM. The small STEM projects help the children, many from lower income homes, to discover that science and learning are fun.

IndyPL’s Sharon Bernhardt: 50 Years of Dedicated Service

This year’s observance of National Library Week, April 9 – 15, celebrates the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians to promote and support library use. The Indianapolis Public Library is proud to share the story of the longest-tenured librarian in the Library’s illustrious 144 year history.

From her beginnings as a page in 1967 to her current role as overseer of eight Library branches, Sharon Bernhardt reflects upon her career at The Indianapolis Public Library as her life’s one constant that, in turn, has afforded her great opportunities to grow and adapt over the decades.

This year, IndyPL celebrates Bernhardt’s 50th year of continuous service, the most for any Library employee past or present. Her introduction to the Library as a page at the Eagle Branch, then located in a strip center on Tibbs Avenue, served as “a 
good first ‘real’ job” while attending Northwest High School.
Continuing to work at the Library throughout her post-secondary schooling, Bernhardt graduated in 1973 from Marian College (now University) with the goal of becoming a social worker. “But at that time in my life I wasn’t ready for that, so I stayed with the Library.” After earning her Masters of Library Science in 1978, Bernhardt’s stay has become her calling. 

Tracking Bernhardt’s travels throughout the Library system is as daunting as it is impressive. After two stints at the Eagle Branch as a clerk and library assistant, she moved to the Haughville Branch where she was a children’s librarian for four years. Next it was on to the former Marwood Branch for four years as a children’s librarian. Her first branch manager’s position came at the former Prospect Branch where she also served as the children’s librarian. 

Then came positions at the former Wanamaker Branch as manager and adult librarian; a return to the Eagle Branch as manager (“at that time my lifelong career goal”); manager at the Nora Branch and Area Resource Manager for eight Library locations. “In addition to my ARM duties, I am the circulation ARM working with patron issues, process and policy changes.”

In 2015, Bernhardt was named Interim Director of Public Services, a position highlighted by her focus on the merger of the Beech Grove Public Library with IndyPL in the summer of 2016. She has now returned to the ARM role where her attention is split among the Nora, Glendale, College Avenue, Fountain Square, Garfield Park, Southport and Beech Grove branches, as well as the InfoZone in The Children’s Museum.

What differences does Bernhardt observe in library service today compared to the 60s and 70s? “That was a long time ago, but we had shorter hours and didn’t open until noon three days a week. Only Central Library was open on Sunday. I guess you could say things were simpler, but I wouldn’t say things were slower because we had less staff with the reduced hours. I think we knew our patrons better because everything required staff assistance…there was no self-service.”

Bernhardt experienced first-hand the transformation of library services from the card catalog to computerized transactions, such as reserving materials via the online catalog. Whereas these changes have improved access, they elicit from Bernhardt a note of nostalgia. “Back in the day we used a photo-charging checkout system where we actually photographed a person’s library card, as well as the card with the information about the book and a transaction card that was connected to the due date for the material. Oh, how things have changed!”

It’s said in the library profession that “once a children’s librarian, always a children’s librarian.” 
It’s that role for which Bernhardt is most remembered by patrons even today. “Sharon was a young, personable, outgoing employee at that time,” says Paula Guthrie, who took her children to the Eagle Branch in the late 60s and early 70s. “She always took time to greet us when we came in, which was pretty much weekly. Stephen, my then six-year-old always looked for her.” Guthrie remembers Bernhardt being taken aback when she brought Stephen’s son to the library some 30 years later. “I’ll never forget the look on her face when she made the connection to the six-year-old all those years ago. Sharon is a special person and we are all very fortunate to have had her in our lives.”

Patron Gloria Keating also remembers Bernhardt during those early years at the Eagle Branch. “It was our Wednesday tradition for myself and my four children to visit the Library. After all these years I can still remember how friendly and kind she was, especially when giving my children a quick peek at the new books, which they really enjoyed. I thank her for all the great memories.”

One of Bernhardt’s fondest memories is of a child care center she visited monthly to tell stories. “One day I got a strange feeling that the kids were getting closer and closer to me as the story went on. So the next time I went to turn a page, I didn’t turn my head and, sure enough, they were scooting up every time I turned a page. By the time I finished the story, they were sitting on my feet!”

Having left her imprint on more than one-third of the Library’s entire history, Bernhardt’s iconic status is being celebrated during a week in which libraries and librarians throughout the country are lauded for the important role they play in the lives of individuals. “If you are called to do something, you’ll put more into it than if you’re just paid for it,” said Jackie Nytes, IndyPL CEO. “I feel Sharon really believes in her work and that has kept her in the game and ready to serve! It is so very fitting that we celebrate her.”

Sharon Bernhardt feels that her calling at IndyPL isn’t done quite yet. “I have no immediate plans to retire. Maybe in a year or two.” 
February 2017

Innovative ideas from Indiana libraries

A lot of the people visiting the nine locations of the Lake County Public Library System are still reading the print editions of newspapers and magazines, and walking out with borrowed books tucked under their arms, according to Carolyn Strickland, who serves as assistant director of public library services. Read more

Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library to recreate Diagon Alley
Diagon Alley, a wizarding shopping area featured in each of the seven books, will occupy most of the rooms on the first floor of the library from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 21. Participants will be able to visit locations such as Olivanders, where they will acquire a wand. Read more

Preschool science and math program allows children, parents to learn together
A child held a fish puppet as its shadow formed on the wall and swam past the shadow of a gingerbread man. Above them, the butterfly shadows cast by other children flew by.

The activity involved children making their own shadow puppets and playing with them on the wall as part of a weekly preschool science and math program Tuesday at the Monroe County Public Library. Other activities included light-painting with a flashlight, testing the opacity of objects under an overhead projector and matching shapes with their shadows. Read more

Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference
The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library is proud to be one of only eight libraries in the country — and the only Indiana library — to host the Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference traveling exhibit.

The word engineer comes from a Latin word meaning “cleverness.” Plenty of clever people have called Kokomo home. Their engineering marvels — the first automobile, pneumatic rubber tire, push-button car radio, all-metal life boats and rafts — truly have made a world of difference in Kokomo and earned us the title of the City of Firsts.Read more


January 2017 

Creston Middle School Receives Indiana Humanities Grant
Susie Highley, Creston Middle School Librarian, received a grant through the Indiana Humanities Council to have Indianapolis native Edward Kelsey Moore visit her school. Susie said she had read his book The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat a couple of years ago, and really enjoyed it. Creston Middle School is the only middle school
selected for the program.

Nonprofits interested in bringing an Indiana author to their community or school to speak to a public audience can apply for funds to cover speaking fees as part of Indiana Humanities’ Novel Conversations Speakers Program.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 15. All author events must be completed by June 30, 2017. The deadline to apply is Oct. 15. All author events must be completed by June 30, 2017.

IndyPL Names Head of Center for African-American Literature & Culture
The Indianapolis Public Library has announced the appointment of Nichelle M. Hayes as Specialist to develop and lead the new Center for African-American Literature and Culture at Central Library.

 Hayes began her IndyPL tenure in March 2015 as a system-wide training librarian and for the past year has acted as a business librarian at Central Library. She also has served as a member of the Library’s African-American History Committee.

Funded as part of a $3.1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Center for African-American Literature and Culture at Central Library will open in October 2017 as a place to study the works of local African-American writers and discover the rich heritage of Black authors from Indiana and beyond. It will feature an initial collection of 10,000 volumes as well as special programming, such as author visits, forums and exhibits, to showcase the African-American experience. The Center also will promote the activities of the African-American History Committee.

“My goal is to combine a robust collection with interactive programming that can be a beacon to people in the community and bring them together,” Hayes stated. “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to add to the Library’s existing offerings and to make this Center the best of its kind in the nation.”

As a focal point for encouraging and supporting continued literary and artistic accomplishment, the Center will celebrate fiction, essays, drama, poetry and other writings as living, dynamic and essential forms of expression that create community.

“Nichelle is a great librarian to grow this experience for our city,” said Library CEO Jackie Nytes. “We are grateful for the support of Lilly Endowment to create an environment where the community can easily find the rich body of Black literature and participate in a dynamic calendar of speakers and creativity.”

The Center for African-American Literature and Culture will be located in the 3,990-square-foot Robert B. Annis West Reading Room at Central Library. Its targeted opening will correspond with the 100th anniversary celebration of Central Library.


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