Interactive redlining feature, religion timeline, most viewed content, and more!
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Celebrating One Year at!
On November 18, 2021, we launched the digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. It was more than an update and transfer into digital form of the print version released in 1994. Instead, we re-envisioned what an online resource could be, how it could employ technology to deliver content in new and interesting ways. We especially wanted to make it interactive, engaging users and allowing them to explore the content in a way not possible with print materials. And we wanted to continue to draw on the expertise of our fellow citizens to ensure that we included information that embraced all of Indianapolis.

New Interactive Feature: Redlining
Redlining was a governmentally sanctioned practice of racially discriminatory mortgage lending that began in the 1930s that continues to influence communities today. The new feature, which was released on November 16, is titled ”Residential Segregation in Indianapolis: Who lives where and why” and outlines the history of this practice in Indianapolis and helps us understand its current-day implications. This feature, contributed by local historian Jordan Ryan, reveals how the past continues to shape the present. It includes an interactive map that allows users to explore how redlining affected the neighborhoods in which they live.  It is a good example of how users can engage the Encyclopedia interactively to understand more about Indianapolis today.

Religion Timeline
Old photo of downtown Indy churches
In mid-september, the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis released a new timeline covering the history of religion in Indianapolis. The timeline shows how religion has influenced Indianapolis since its founding in 1820 and how it still influences the city today. It includes the beginnings of African American congregations and their contributions to the life and culture of Indianapolis, and it shows how new immigrant groups have increased the richness of our religious culture. The timeline shows the growth of diversity in the city, especially in the last 30 years.

Encyclopedia of Indianapolis Wins Two Awards
Since its launching a year ago, the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis has earned two awards:
In May, the Encyclopedia received the Indiana Geographic Information Council Special Achievement in Geographic Information System (GIS) award. This award recognizes special geospatial projects developed through teamwork that demonstrate commitment to working with others in the Indiana GIS community toward a common goal to create an outstanding information resource. 
On November 14, the Indiana Library Federation presented the Encyclopedia with its Collaboration Award during its annual meeting. This award honors and recognizes a corporation, organization, individual library, or a group of libraries, that has made significant contributions in a collaboration or collaborative efforts of promoting library services in a community, region, or at the statewide level.
Both awards recognize not only the excellence of the online Encyclopedia but also its collaborative framework. Although hosted by the Indianapolis Public Library, which will ensure its longevity, the Encyclopedia is the result of a highly collaborative civic initiative. The city’s major heritage and cultural organizations, over 600 citizen-experts, and a substantial number of Indianapolis philanthropies have shared their resources and expertise to make the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis available and openly accessible for anyone who wants to know more about our city.  

Coming Soon...
In December, the encyclopedia will be publishing 50 new entries for our second scheduled update cycle. Some of the entries in this update cycle include:  

  • The Grand Body of the Sisters of Charity, an African American women’s club that opened a hospital for Black residents in 1911  
  • Fiesta, the annual Indianapolis festival that celebrates the cultures of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain  
  • Ray Harroun, the winner of the first Indianapolis 500 who invented the rearview mirror
  • LifeJourney Church, the first LGBTQ congregation in Indianapolis
  • Heidelberg Haus, a popular hub of German food and culture for Indianapolis established in 1968

We also will be publishing our African American Timeline, which will reveal the accomplishments and challenges of the city’s Black residents.  The timeline will show the breadth of the contributions and significance of the Black population to the city over time.  
Additionally, we are continuing our work on an exhibitions gallery that is funded through a grant from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Foundation. One of our first exhibitions will be The Hoosier Group: Impressions of Indianapolis, which will cover how Indiana artists, T. C. Steele, William Forsyth, J. Ottis Adams, Richard B. Gruelle, and Otto Stark, influenced the Indianapolis art scene at the turn of the 20th century. A second exhibition, Murals for Social Justice, will include the works of several contemporary Black Indianapolis artists painted during the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020. These exhibitions will be released for our next update in June 2023.

Site Usage
Since the November 18, 2021, public launch, over 118,000 users have accessed the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis site to view over a quarter-million pages. They come from across the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and China, among other places. Almost 55% of users visit via a mobile device and 45% view it from a desktop computer.
In the first year some of the most popular searches included Fred Heckman, the Sylvia Likens Murder Case, Stokely Van-Camp, and Indy’s own late night TV horror movie host, Sammy Terry (pictured below, 1962).
Robert Carter as Sammy Terry

We are within $50,000 of completing our initial campaign of $2.2 million for creating and maintaining the Encyclopedia for the period from 2020-2024. You can help us close out this campaign with your gift to the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation.

You can give online or mail your contribution to the Library Foundation at PO Box 6134, Indianapolis, IN 46206-6134. You are welcome to email or call the Library Foundation at 317-275-4700 with any questions you may have.

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P.O. Box 211 Indianapolis, IN 46206-0211
Phone: (317) 275-4100