Thursday, January 22, 2015
Proposed Elimination of Genealogy at the Indiana State Library
Indiana House Bill 1001 – the State Budget Bill – includes a proposed 24% cut in funding to the Indiana State Library. According to State Librarian Jacob Speer, the proposal includes elimination of the Genealogy Department at the State Library and a 10% reduction in ISL staff.
As Speer points out, the Genealogy Department at the Indiana State Library has more than 100,000 items devoted to Indiana, states from which Hoosiers came, as well as some foreign countries.
Many of these holdings are not duplicated at the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana State Archives, or the Indiana Historical Bureau. In addition, the Indiana State Library serves as the "genealogy destination" for patrons of the Indianapolis Public Library (IPL), as IPL made the decision not to have their own genealogy collection.
Almost half (49%) of the reference questions that come to the Indiana State Library are for research from the Genealogy collection. It isn't hard to imagine an increase in the number of people who will be researching their Indiana heritage and local history as we approach the State's bicentennial next year, especially with the state's plans to attract people to "come home to Indiana."
We encourage Indiana residents to contact their state legislators and members of the House Ways and Means Committee and weigh in on this important issue. You can locate contact information for your state legislators here and the House Ways and Means Committee here.
People outside of Indiana can contact Rep. Timothy Brown, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Those dollars that you spend in the state while you're researching at the Indiana State Library add up.
You can find State Librarian Speer's analysis here.
You can find the full State Budget Report here.