Friday Focus

Friday, September 9 , 2022, vol. 10, no. 6

Friday Focus is a quick digest of news and notes

for members of The Indianapolis Public Library Shared System.

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Small Chairs in a Small Space

The library at Central Catholic School had to shrink over the summer to accommodate some small group tutoring. There had never been any comfortable seating anyway. The collapsible chairs principal Ruth Hurrle found have proven so popular that she's ordered five more. Cindy Sommers, school library manager at CCS, has seen a big jump in library use this year. Might be the chairs, might be that the rearranged shelves make the books stand out more. It's always good to shake things up!

Dean White Was Right

Back in the days when I was in library school, the formbidable Dean Herb White taught our Library Management class. I have often thought of him chiding us that the library must not be an "unexamined good," but that we would have to prove to our patrons, boards, and taxpayers the good that we did. I am afraid I have been caught short by the recent outcry against libraries and librarians because I thought everyone else thought the library was a good thing and didn't examine it too closely. Suddenly, libraries seem to be examined quite closely around the country and here in Indiana, and I'm afraid we haven't done enough to say what makes us good, let alone prove it.

This video from CNN about a group of people threatening the library staff over 400 inappropriate books that the library doesn't even own is disturbing. I don't want to spoil the whole story for you, but there's going to be one less library in Idaho. Those folks were examining the library pretty closely, checking out books to look for obscenity. How do you counter that with the good the library has been doing there for decades?

This article from BookRiot surveys school districts in Florida to find out how they changed their library programs after the state legislature passed some restrictive laws about parent rights and library books. Some districts had parents opt in for more restrictive library access; others had them opt out. One district won't allow students to use the library until the form has been returned, and none of us will be surprised to hear that only 25 percent of the forms had been returned. So in that district 75 percent of the students are without access to their school library. In all of the districts surveyed, less than one percent of the students had access to library materials restricted or revoked by parents. It's unlikely 99 percent of the students' families examined their students' library experience and decided it was worthwhile. Maybe for families busy with work and kids in school, libraries ARE an unexamined good. Let's keep proving it anyway!

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One small part of showing the good that you do is letting people know how many books you're checking out. The Circulation Dashboard is up to date through the end of August. This quarter, all Shared System libraries (schools, museums, and special) have checked out 32,844 items since July 1 - more than all but five IndyPL branches!

Remember, you can compare school year to school year by selecting the correct months and years on the dashboard! Just paste the months and data into a new spreadsheet.

Shared System Meeting Nov. 2nd

Three people asked this week when our fall meeting would be. Got the hint and got it on the schedule! The Fall Shared System meeting will be Wednesday, Nov. 2nd, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the IndyPL Library Services Center, 2450 North Meridian.

Please RSVP.

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Arlington High School, proposed building (1959) and constructed building (1961)

IPS Architecture Now Part of Digital Indy Collection

From the official news release: Thousands of blueprints, drawings, photographs, and other documents detailing the architectural environment of the Indianapolis Public School (IPS) system are now available to view on The Indianapolis Public Library’s website.

The new Indianapolis Public Schools Architecture Collection spans three centuries and includes documents from the 1890s through the 1970s. The educational priorities of various time periods are reflected in the design of buildings and how they were used. For example, school floor plans that highlight what was taught in classrooms during various time periods reveal rooms designated for clothing laboratory, cabinet making shop, and other subjects that are hard to find in modern schools.

More than 5,000 blueprints, including architectural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and landscape technical drawings, were selected to form the core of this collection. To supplement the architectural drawings, over 300 aerial and building photographs and more than 1,000 pages of other documentation were included to show the process from design through construction to functional building. Additional documents will be added during the coming months.

"It has been an incredibly rewarding journey to see the results of the tireless efforts of the digitization team to bring over a century of IPS history from dusty storage rooms and long-forgotten filing drawers, and make them accessible to the world,” said Zachary J. Mulholland, executive director of operations at Indianapolis Public Schools.

You may view the Indianapolis Public Schools Architecture Collection on

From DigitalIndy: Part of what’s interesting about having both images together is that proposal was when the school was still named Northeast High School, which is why the person has a N on their sweater. Mostly it’s just cool to see both together, since at least to me the photos make the architectural drawings more real.

Here’s the link to the collection landing page:

Speaking of school names, IPS schools and alums might be interested in another DigitalIndy resource, A Biographical Study of Persons for Whom Indianapolis Schools Are Named. I’m not sure how complete it is since it seems to have just been done out of curiosity, but it looks like it covers 116 schools.

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It's time for the sixteenth Slammin' Rhymes Challenge for 7th through 12th graders. Some of the students who will enter weren't even born when it started!

This isn't just a random poetry contest, it's part of a big day, Fall Fest, which is presented by IndyPL's African American History Committee in support of the Center for Black Literature and Culture. The keynote speaker that day will be Kevin Richardson. When he was 14, Kevin , entered New York City’s Central Park on a spring evening in 1989. The eighth-grade student was arrested on his way home that night alongside four other Black and Hispanic teens and faced a nightmarish journey through the criminal justice system. The youths, known then as "the Central Park Five," spent day after day, year after year, in custody for a brutal crime they did not commit. Today, the group is known as "the Exonerated Five."*

It is fitting that the theme for the contest is Overcomers! The flyer and entry form are available on WeShare (no login required).

Winners and Prizes:

• All poetry contest participants will receive a gift card. If they attend Fall Fest, they can pick it up in person!

• Ten selectees will read their entries at the Fall Fest/Slammin’ Rhymes Challenge

Saturday November 19, 2022

12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Central Library • 40 E. St. Clair Street

*The Ken Burns documentary about the young men is available on Kanopy and on Hoopla and would make a great assignment for students to watch before heading down to see one of the young men in person.

P.S. Showing Movies in Class

When I looked up the Ken Burns documentary above, I learned that Kanopy has redesigned the information they present about films you can borrow. They've added a public performance rights indicator near the top of the details page for films that can be shown at free public events.

I looked up whether that PPR indicator meant teachers could show the films in class, and learned the following (and am pasting it here from the website)

  • If you're a student or faculty member, you're welcome and encouraged to use a Kanopy film in your class. Films can also be used for extracurricular events, like film clubs or social events, if they're labeled with the "PPR" icon. Learn more about PPR.

  • Kanopy films stream at a high resolution, so they can be projected onto a large screen with little effect on the video quality.

  • Instructors can also create video playlists for assignments and supplemental material. Learn more about creating clips and playlists.
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Upcoming Author Visits at Kids Ink

Margaret Peterson Haddix will discuss and sign copies of her latest book, the first in her new series, Mysteries of Trash & Treasure, The Secret Letters on September 21st from 4:30-6pm.

Reserve your copy of Miss Peregrine's Museum of Wonders now for your ticket to meet Ransom Riggs. Call (317) 255-2598, visit the store, or go to our website to purchase your book.

Wouldn't your students love to have an autographed copy of either of these books in your library? You could also offer an autographed copy as a prize in a reading contest.

Kids Ink is at 5619 North Illinois Street.


The three messages below are not for you! They are for your students!

Teen Intro to Bollywood Dance

Join Usha Sirimalle, a teaching artist with Arts for Learning, to learn basic steps of the Bollywood dance style and choreography featuring traditional Bollywood music.

Teen Recycled Book Art - with Jennifer Hash

Have you ever wondered what to do with your old books? In this workshop we will repurpose old books into works of art.


Have you ever wanted to learn to play Dungeons & Dragons? Do you already play and want to find more people interested in the game? Join us to learn the basics from dice to pre-generated characters. All materials are provided. You only need to bring yourself! NOTE: registration is recommended. Visit WeShare to get a downloadable calendar of when and where these introductory events are being held all over the city!

This list in Bibliocommons includes rule books, guide books, inspiration books, resources for running your very own game, and also fiction books inspired by the world of D&D. #indyplkids


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Usually you'll find links to articles in this space. Today, you'll find a link to a program at Central Library! The book Calvin Can't Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie has been made into an "innovative film presented in American Sign Language by Crom Saunders, animation, enhanced text, music and narrated English" according to a blog post on

Calvin Can’t Fly will be shown at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 25 in the Clowes Auditorium at Central Library, 40 E. Saint Clair Street. The showing will be followed by presentations from Indiana School for the Deaf students.

The program is free, space is limited, and registration is required. Register online at

Click here to download a Calvin Can't Fly poster from WeShare and post it in your library!

One more item for Windows and Mirrors Readers:

The latest blog from Teen Services Underground is called "A Look at My High School’s Student and Staff Multicultural Book Club." A high school media assistant describes the book club she developed and includes a list of titles the club has read so far, as well as their list of books they're considering. Note: snacks are important, for both staff and students.

Q&A: Managing an Item and Missing a Step

Me: Can you check your shelf for a book called The lifesaving adventure of Sam Deal, shipwreck rescuer? I just made it holdable for a patron who’s been waiting for it since February. If you find it, can you check it in?

School: I checked my shelves, and I didn't see this book. Since I'm new, that was before my time. I will keep looking but I don't know the procedure for marking a book missing.

Me: You just forgot! Training was a few weeks ago! Check it in, then check the checkbox next to it, go to Actions, then look for Manage Item, then make it Local Missing!

School: I tried to do what you told me. However, there is an error message that says I can't manage the item from the check in. I have looked on the record to "manage" the item and that is not an option. Do you have another way I can try?

Me: Are you logged in with the user name ending in 2?

School: This is the message "Locked item 37799999999999 cannot be modified from check-in."

Me: Ah- HAH! Look at your hamburger menu. Do you have the item open?

Apparently they did, because I didn't hear back! Never feel badly about forgetting those minor details - it happens to all of us, even to those of us who have been using Polaris since we got it in January 2020!

More Q&A:

Q: I found an IndyPL-owned book in my book return box. When I scanned it to return it, I got the error “no matching item record was found”. It doesn’t even show up in Bibliocommons. The date sticker on the spine is Sep 2009. Clearly, someone found a lost book! I’m assuming I should put it in an interoffice envelope, but to whom should I send it?

A: Even easier, you can just put it in the blue tote as is, and shipping and receiving will know who to give it to!

Q: Our receipt printer is broken...Can I bring it tomorrow for a repair or a swap....

A: Unfortunately, the school owns the equipment, so the school would have to repair it or replace it! It’s been there since 2004 so it probably died of natural causes!

If you've checked all the cords and the paper and the ink, you will likely want to replace it. Here's a link to the staff page on WeShare with the printer specifications:

Q: Can we order magazines for the library at school? I know in the past I did, and I ordered from Ebsco.

A: Yes, you can. IndyPL doesn’t do anything with them so it would be under your own account. You might have a hard time just because so many magazines are ceasing publication and moving online. Have you looked at what magazines we have online? We have two magazine platforms – the links and info are on that page.

Gentle Note about Picklists

Some of you have been hard hit by long picklists. Please know how grateful we are to you for your efforts. Several of you have pulled more than 100 items so far to share with students at other schools and other library patrons around the city. Because all Shared System libraries are at the bottom of the list of locations Polaris checks for available items, the potential is high that you are one of the only locations where the book can be found. When you don't have time to run the picklist, the item passes to another Shared System location. If neither of you have time to run the picklist, the item passes back and forth till one of you catches up. If you find yourself out of time, please contact us. We will be happy to come help get your list taken care of so other libraries have shorter lists. When everyone is running their picklists, everyone's picklists will be shorter!
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September 11 - History of the Negro National League at Central

Thursday, Sept. 15th - Deadline to enter inaugural Young Voices Annual Poetry Contest

Saturday, Sept. 17th - Eiteljorg celebrates Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day - free admission

Sunday, September 25th - Calvin Can't Fly, Central Library

Thursday, Sept. 29th - Kadir Nelson gives the annual Marian McFadden Memorial Lecture

Friday, Oct. 7th - Tuesday, Oct. 11th - Indy Library Store Book Sale

Wednesday, Nov. 2nd - Shared System Fall Meeting