State li­brary faces ma­jor cuts un­der bill

Post-Tribune - - Post-Tribune State - BY LAU­RYN SCHROEDER

IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS — An in­sti­tu­tion that doc­u­ments In­di­ana his­tory could face elim­i­na­tion un­der Gov. Mike Pence’s bud­get plan, just months be­fore the state’s bi­cen­ten­nial.

Pence’s spend­ing plan would cut the In­di­ana State Li­brary’s fund­ing by 24 per­cent, about $2 mil­lion, and elim­i­nate the ge­neal­ogy depart­ment that houses more than 100,000 items doc­u­ment­ing Hoosier his­tory.

The li­brary’s on­line tool known as IN­SPIRE, which gives all In­di­ana cit­i­zens ac­cess to li­censed data­bases of his­tor­i­cal and sci­en­tific jour­nals, also would be elim­i­nated. Uni­ver­si­ties and county li­braries that fre­quently use IN­SPIRE would have cover the data­base sub­scrip­tion cost on their own.

State bud­get direc­tor Brian Bai­ley said IN­SPIRE was de­funded be­cause it of­fers ser­vices that are al­ready avail­able on­line through sites such as Google Scholar and Mi­crosoft Aca­demic Search, though Krull said ac­cess will be limited com­pared to IN­SPIRE. Bai­ley also said the ge­neal­ogy depart­ment’s ser­vice is the same as of­fered on an­ces­try.com.

Jeff Krull, a mem­ber of the gover­nor-ap­pointed In­di­ana Li­brary and His­tor­i­cal Board, said the li­brary’s fund­ing has been whit­tled down each year for the past decade, “but this was a big whack that came out of left field.”

Mean­while, about $55 mil­lion has been al­lot­ted for the state’s bi­cen­ten­nial cel­e­bra­tion.

“It just doesn’t make any sense to have a big blowout cel­e­bra­tion and then dis­man­tle the in­sti­tu­tions that pre­serve the state’s his­tory,” Krull said.

The state plans to lease out un- derused cell tow­ers to cover the bi­cen­ten­nial cost. Nearly half will fund the con­struc­tion of a new state ar­chives build­ing. An­other $2.5 mil­lion will cre­ate an ed­u­ca­tion cen­ter at the li­brary.

Com­mu­nity of­fi­cials have pre­vi­ously stressed the im­por­tance of a new ar­chives build­ing. Most of In­di­ana’s his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments are be­ing stored in a di­lap­i­dated build­ing on the far east side of In­di­anapo­lis.

They were moved there in 2001 as a tem­po­rary mea­sure while the state li­brary was be­ing re­mod­eled, but ended up re­main­ing at the site with no cli­mate con­trol.

How­ever, the build­ing would not serve as a re­place­ment for the ge­neal­ogy depart­ment, which Krull said has be­come a pri­mary re­source for im­mi­gra­tion records, fam­ily trees and lin­eage, cen­sus data and other in­for­ma­tion peo­ple can use to track down their his­tory.

A re­port is­sued by the In­di­ana State Li­brar­ian Ja­cob Speer said the bud­get cuts would lead to a 10 per­cent re­duc­tion in staff. The li­brary would also lose its fed­eral fund­ing, since the state would no longer be meet­ing the match and main­te­nance re­quire­ments of the grant.

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