How to Use Our Collections

Locating Books, Journals, and Other Materials

Most, but not all, of the printed materials in the collections of the Indiana State Library can be located using the online catalog. Books, pamphlets, and most maps are included, as well as titles of the many magazines and journals.

Requesting Materials from the Stacks

The majority of the materials in the Indiana State Library are kept in locked stacks, with the exception of the Genealogy Division's book collection on the first floor, and the reference collections and microfilm collections on the second floor. Patrons need to request the particular items they want from the appropriate reference or service desk, using a completed call slip that includes the patron's name, address, the title of the item, and its call number.

  • All Indiana Division materials must be requested from the second floor service point, except for manuscripts, photographs and broadsides, which are requested in the Manuscripts Reading Room. Less than ten percent of the book collection circulates; all other materials must be used within the Indiana State Library.
  • All Genealogy Division books are requested and used in the first floor reading room. No materials from the Genealogy Collection can be checked out.
  • Most materials from the general collections of the Indiana State Library can be checked out. These materials may be requested at the Loan Desk on the first floor, or at the reference desk on the second floor.
  • All materials from the Special Services Division, with the exception of its reference collection, may be checked out. Patrons may visit in person or call with their requests.

Photocopying and Photoduplication

All copies are made for the one-time research use of a patron, and all requests are contingent on the condition of the item. Patrons are responsible for obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders and for abiding by all state and federal laws.


Any questions may be submitted to or by calling (866) 683-0008.

Obituary  $5.00 / name 
1-10 pages $5.00
11+ pages  $.50 / page* 
*50 page maximum 
Color Photocopies $1.00 / page

The fees for photocopying are to be charged when library staff are making and sending copies, and not when patrons are making copies for themselves in the library. Documents may be saved to a flash drive. Personal scanners are not allowed.

Self Service Photocopies and/or Microform Scans

Scan  Free
Digital Photograph Free
Photocopies $.25/page

Photographic Duplication:

The Indiana State Library works with the Indiana State Archives to provide photographic copies of materials for patrons for a fee, paid to the Indiana State Archives. Order forms for photographic reproductions are available in the Manuscript Section of the Indiana Division. Patrons must pay for a negative of the item used, if a negative does not already exist.

Use of any images of photographs or other images in the Indiana Division's collection requires having a signed form on file with the Manuscripts Librarian, and is subject to fees established by the Indiana Historical and Library Board. Information on publishing images from the Indiana Division's collections is available from the Manuscript Section.

Locating and Using Manuscripts, Photographs, and Broadsides

All requests to use manuscripts, photographs, broadsides, and programs must be made in the Manuscripts Reading Room. All materials must be used in the Manuscripts Reading Room, and none of the materials from that area may be checked out.

At this time, less than 25 percent of the collections in the Manuscripts Section are listed in the online catalog. A card file index to the collections is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room. Separate indexes for the Picture Collection and the Broadside Collection are available in the Manuscripts Reading Room as well.

Inventories for many of the collections are available for browsing in the Manuscripts Reading Room, as well as item-level card files for a few of the collections received in the early 20th century.

There are special rules for using the manuscripts and photographic collections. Any questions or concerns should be addressed to the Manuscript Librarian.

Microforms: Newspapers, Genealogy Materials, and More

The second floor of the Indiana State Library contains the combined microform collections of the Genealogy Division, Indiana Division, and Reference & Government Services Division. This is a self-service area, with many microfilm reader/printers available for use by the public. The microfilm reader/printers take quarters when printing; $.25 per page from the reader/printer.

Included in the microform collections are over 80,000 reels of microfilmed Indiana newspapers, federal census records on microfilm, county histories and family histories on microfiche, and more. A listing of the Indiana newspapers held by the Indiana State Library is available, arranged by county. A partial listing of the microforms held by the Genealogy Division is also available, while the microfiche collection of the Genealogy Division is included in the online catalog.