Black and white scan of an illustration of an open book with stars, a butterfly, balloons, and a rainbow. Illustrated text reads "Discover a great book at the MCPL!" by Amy Heeter, Binford 5th

After rediscovering pieces of writing from her daughter, Ariel, during her time as a student at University Elementary School in Bloomington, Amanda Ray shipped a box of various childhood gems—including an award winning piece that had been published locally in the The Herald-Times in 1995—all the way to Ariel’s new home in Maryland. She was hoping that Ariel would be able to share the pieces with her young children to inspire them to write stories of their own, “because readers inspire reading and writers inspire writing,” said Amanda.

Unfortunately, Ariel didn’t get to open the box before a thief stole the package from her front porch.

“Needless to say it was a big disappointment,” said Amanda. She regretted not snapping photos of the contents of the box before shipping it to Ariel. In an attempt to recover what she could, Amanda visited The Herald-Times’ archives, but was unable to find exactly what she was looking for.

Relentless, Amanda decided to visit our Indiana Room. Luckily, the Library staff had taken the time to scan each page of the newspaper all those years ago, and kept them in an archive for preservation and safekeeping. Christine, the librarian in the Indiana Room, scrolled through microfilms until she found Ariel’s short story “The Shadow,” the piece that Amanda had originally set out to find. In addition to the short story, Christine also came across various other newspaper mentions of Amanda’s children.

The Indiana Room is located on the second floor of the Downtown Library. Patrons can visit the room to find information about the history of Monroe County, limestone industry archives, obituary indexes, digital copies of Bloomington yearbooks, and other historical records and documents. Our knowledgeable and dedicated staff members are available to help navigate the records and assist patrons in finding what they need. Beyond just physical archives, patrons can also visit the eLibrary. We’re excited to show this as a prime example of how Monroe County Public Library and the Indiana Room have a reach that goes beyond the county boundaries; even those who have been away from Monroe County for decades can revisit their time here.

Black and white scan from The Herald Times Creative Kids, March 8, 1995 of The Shadow