Blogs & Staff Picks

By David Heighway, Hamilton County Historian I’ve been watching the discussion on how to have fun and stay safe on Halloween this year, and seeing the disappointment about not being able to get candy. It’s not the first time that we’ve had this kind of......

By: Julia Welzen With the autumnal weather guiding us to cozy activities, you may be curious about joining or starting a book club as a way to reflect on your reading and develop social ties. The format lends itself well to online get-togethers in a socially-distanced world, and can easily pivot......

By David Heighway, Hamilton County Historian A topic that many people are discussing these days is the issue of African Americans and a number of apparently unjustified incarcerations. This blog does not comment on modern issues, but it’s interesting to find historic cases that bear......

Written by: Nancy Massey, Indiana Room Coordinator Land records can be an invaluable resource for genealogists. At the August genealogy roundtable, attendees mentioned that land records are one of their favorite genealogy resources.  At the very least, they document your ancestor in a specific location......

Written by: Allison Zafiratos With the opening of HEPL’s Seed Library this past March, I began wondering how these seeds would be used in our community and home gardens.  It reminded me of times in our shared past when we have come together to grow food......

By: Missy Flanagin It’s nothing new that young students love unicorns. Unicorns are literally everywhere you turn. They can be found on the cereal box you may have in your kitchen or they can be on your pajamas you snuggle up in at night. So,......

By: Danielle Acton, Adult Engagement Coordinator and Christy Franzman, Teen Coordinator This fall, HEPL will introduce a new community read initiative—Books Build Bridges. HEPL serves two vibrant communities—Fishers and Noblesville. Our aim with Books Build Bridges and the two books selected (one for adult audiences, and......

Written by: Amy Norris Many of us in Hamilton County take for granted the quick 30-mile drive in the car to Speedway. Race fans from all corners of the globe spend several days traveling to Central Indiana each year during the month of May. We......

Written by: Nancy Massey, Indiana Room Coordinator Although this is at the start of July, September is just around the corner with a special commemoration. On September 2, we will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. My father and my......

By David Heighway, Hamilton County Historian When Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in March 1933, his administration immediately created an overlapping “alphabet soup” of federal relief programs. It was recognized that artists needed to be supported as much as those in any other occupation, and......

By: Angela Dubinger Whether you are researching and learning for yourself or need resources and stories for your children, our library has gathered a list to help support your conversation about race justice in America. These resources are partly referenced from the School Library Journal......

By: Ally Muterspaw Are you wanting to engage with anti-racist literature and action, but don’t know where to begin? One of the most accessible ways we can engage with anti-racist conversation is through books! The topics on this list cover anti-Blackness, the criminal justice system,......

By: Christina Shields Are you missing library storytimes and your favorite songs? We are missing reading and singing along with you and your little ones, too! Happily, you don’t have to wait until we meet again to enjoy many of our regular storytime songs! You......

By David Heighway, Hamilton County Historian Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was known for many years, has always held a deep meaning for the people of Hamilton County. The county provided the first soldiers from Indiana to enlist in the Union army during......

Written by: Nancy Massey, Indiana Room Coordinator Staying home due to the pandemic can be difficult, and you may be experiencing loneliness and boredom. While social distancing may make it hard to connect with loved ones in person, take this time to connect to your......

By: Heidi Herald Spring is a time of renewal. Many people choose this time of year to do spring-cleaning and get organized. Why not apply this same principle to organizing your reading lists? As a librarian, I often assist patrons who bring reading-log notebooks with......

By: Ally Muterspaw While we’re all staying at home, reading can be a little tough to focus on. Maybe you need an adventure that’s out of this world! Below is a list of books and comics available to you through Hoopla: some are magical, some......

By David Heighway, Hamilton County Historian With all of the discussion about the “new normal” because of Covid-19, it set me to thinking about common memory and natural disasters. For many years, discussion of the 1918 flu epidemic was actually regarded as obscure and esoteric.......

By: Jan Bridges Audiobooks and mysteries are a great combination. During this difficult time, having someone read to us can be very soothing. Here are three enjoyable listens that are available on Overdrive and the Libby app. Happy listening! The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Alicia......

Written by: Nancy Massey, Indiana Room Coordinator As soon as I received my invitation to participate in the 2020 census, I was online answering the questions. Why did I respond so quickly? Well, I legally have to respond! Secondly, I am a genealogist; I love......

By: Julia Welzen Spring is here, the weather is warming up, and the last frost date is fast approaching. Prepare for another gardening season by checking out the following titles! The library buildings may be temporarily closed, but all these titles are available virtually through......

By: Amy Coleman (Disclaimer: The true crime genre tends to be graphic in nature and sometimes includes explicit language and, therefore, may not be appropriate for all audiences. Discretion is advised.) The popularity of Netflix’s Tiger King demonstrates true crime’s draw. What is it about......

By: Lisa Glisel Making ice cream in a bag is a great activity for any age, even preschoolers! It’s a fun recipe that involves fine and gross motor skills. You can use this opportunity to discuss ingredients and nutrition, measurements, and the science behind making......

By: Allison Kartman Young children learn in many different ways, including through play! During National Library Week we are encouraging families to “Find the Library at Your Place.” Read through the following library-inspired pretend play ideas with your children and see what excites them!   Storytime!  ......

By: Christina Shields I am missing all of the creative families that attend our monthly Create, Color & Chill program at HEPL’s Noblesville location. As you may remember, Create, Color & Chill usually includes a fun, sensory station; a musical component; and a creative activity.......

By: Ally Muterspaw With so many of us spending more time at home, now is a great time to try out some new vegetarian and vegan recipes! Whether you already enjoy vegetarian and vegan cooking or if you’re simply looking for a way to get......

Ready, Set… Start Growing! By: Hella Rumschlag, Youth Services Assistant Early April is too early to put plants in the ground in central Indiana, but it’s never too early to start planning and dreaming of that bountiful summer garden. Imagine ripe, red tomatoes; crisp, green......

Great Cooking Resources By: Heidi Herald Like many people, you may be trying to create meals from what you have at home in order to reduce exposure risks or because you are watching your budget. Preparing delicious and satisfying meals with ingredients you have on......

Solar Energy STEAM Activity for the Whole Family to Enjoy By: Julie Armstrong You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again – Renewable energy is the energy of the future! Doesn’t it make sense then to begin now to teach our children about these......

Writing Your Ancestor’s Story and Your Story Written by: Nancy Massey, Indiana Room Coordinator, masseyn@hepl.lib.in.us Since I now have lots of time at home, I alternate researching HEPL’s four fantastic genealogy databases with cleaning up my online family trees. Sometimes I find that I accidentally......

Vote for the Indiana Firefly Award! By: Allison Kartman The Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award is an initiative of the Indiana Center for the Book. The award is administered by the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Committee. The Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Committee is made up of......

Census 2020 in the Time of Pandemic By: Pam Lamberger Are you in Pandemic overload yet? Many are finding themselves spending a lot more time at home than ever before. Whether you are embarked on an unplanned adventure of home schooling, competing with your work-from-home......

HEPL’s Remote Access Genealogy Databases Written by: Nancy Massey, Indiana Room Coordinator Since the Hamilton East Public Library closed its doors on March 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic, I have been confined to my home, as most Hoosiers are now by order of the......

The Community Players: Noblesville’s African American Theater Troupe By: David Heighway, Hamilton County Historian A new piece has been added to the history of theater in Noblesville, thanks to research done by Lezli R. Davis. Twentieth century theater groups in the city started with the Noblesville......

Once Upon a Fairytale Retelling By: Missy Flanagin I recently got the pleasure of introducing a good friend of mine to a young adult series, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I was truly at a loss for words, trying to describe the awesomeness of......

Stay Healthy for National Nutrition Month By: Anders Arnold Howdy folks! March is National Nutrition Month and I wanted my blog to focus on how teens can stay healthy in mind, body & spirit. Highlighted below are some fantastic books within our collection that not......

March is Women’s History Month Written by: Nancy Massey In a few days, the month of March will begin. March is also known as Women’s History Month. This year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Wow, what better time is there than now......

John R. Byrd: Indiana’s First African American Lawyer By: David Heighway, Hamilton County Historian A one-time Noblesville resident had a very unique distinction.  However, very little is known about him and his activities. John R. Byrd was the first African American to be admitted to the......

For the Love of Graphic Novels By: Allison Kartman “Psst”… want to know a secret most children’s librarians really want you to know? Graphic novels are real books! Graphic novels ARE real reading! Yes, really. Reading is reading! Our society is an ever increasing visual society. Emojis,......

Count on These Two Things By: Pam Lamberger Back in 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to Jen-Baptiste Le Roy, “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain,......

A Portrait as a Present: the Art of Francis H. Finch By: David Heighway, Hamilton County Historian In a continuation of my last post on Frank H. Finch, crayon artist, I want to look at his decade-long career in Noblesville. I’m mentioning the subjects of his......

I Spy in the Indiana Room Written by: Nancy Massey The Indiana Room recently acquired a new item. Well, it is new to the Indiana Room, but actually resided in the Youth Services area in Fishers. It joined a fellow bird of prey that arrived......

A Portrait as a Present: the Art of Francis H. Finch By: David Heighway, Hamilton County Historian During the holidays, it’s common to give professionally made family photos as gifts. Things were much the same in the 1870’s and 1880’s, but the technology was a little......

The Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner. For most people, we start thinking of turkey with all the trimmings. When they were young, my two sons knew that Maw Maw and Paw Paw would be here to tell them funny stories about their dad.......

Thank You for Your Service: Veterans Day 101 By: Pam Lamberger This day, dedicated to the recognition of those who serve as members of our military, arrives dependably each year like the cadence of a military march. It is easy to take for granted the......

“Bedrock Jim”: The Peculiar Life of James Burchem By: David Heighway, Hamilton County Historian While the holidays are usually thought of as a time of family togetherness, this is the story of a man who left his family and disappeared for 37 years. Much of his......

15 YA Books for Worldwide Bereaved Siblings Month By: Erin Weir Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard for everyone. Siblings in particular can often be overlooked in the grieving process. November is Worldwide Bereaved Siblings Month and in the spirit of......

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