Have you been INSPIREd lately?
On many occasions in this column, we have talked about the fantastic resources available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week from our website, mybcpl.org. Items like eBooks from Overdrive, digital magazines from Zinio, music from Freegal, language learning lessons from Mango and Muzzy … the list could go on and on.
The library pays the vendors from its budget for these fabulous products in the same way we do with print books, magazines, etc. Since we pay for them, the only people who can gain access are those people with a Bartholomew County Public Library card.
However, there is one resource that we have access to that is available to all residents of the state of Indiana, regardless of your library affiliation. It is called INSPIRE. The reason it is available to everyone is that it is paid for by the state out of Build Indiana funds, which are proceeds from the lottery and casino boat revenue.
INSPIRE began way back in 1998, when the Internet was in its earliest stages. Digital information opened the door for even greater access and sharing possibilities than ever before.
With a print book, you have to actually have the print book in front of you. However with digital, the same information can be sent electronically to wherever you are. So the Indiana State Library and a library consortium called INCOLSA had the idea to purchase access as a group for the entire state so that all of the citizens could take advantage of this new digital freedom.
Instead of each individual public library system, academic library and school library purchasing the information, the state would simply purchase it and make it available to all.
This leveled the playing field for everyone. With that decision and yearly commitment from the state, no matter how wealthy you are or how much your library system was able to spend on resources, everyone had access to the same information.
Also, it saved untold amounts of money from each library’s collection budget. It was an amazing plan and achievement that continues to this day.
INSPIRE is basically a database of databases containing more than 8,000 full-text journals, many of which are peer reviewed.
However, it also has a product called the Testing and Education Resource Center, which has practice tests and guides for the SAT, PSAT, GRE, GMAT, etc. It has products including the Small Business Resource Center that gives new or hopeful business owners the tools they need to start and grow their businesses.
The database Business Source premier gives you full access to periodicals such as Harvard Business Review and Money Magazine. With so much information, it would be impossible to list them all here.
We know that many people throughout Indiana have found INSPIRE to be useful. In 2014 alone, more than 125 million searches were conducted. In those searches, users found more than 11.8 million full-text articles that were used for research papers, business documents, general reading, etc.
If you ever used your library (public, college, or school) to find resources for a paper, you probably used INSPIRE without even realizing it, as thankfully, it is so integrated into our current academics that we would be lost without it. I can tell you that without INSPIRE, many of our residents would be missing out as their library would simply not be able to afford the access.
If you haven’t used INSPIRE lately, log on to mybcpl.org/resources and click on the INSPIRE logo. Many of the individual resources are also broken out by subject in the drop-down menus as well.
If you have been INSPIREd and utilize INSPIRE on a regular basis, I would just ask that you tell your friends and family about it as well. Let them know how you used it and how they might benefit. Also, since it is paid for by state dollars, feel free to contact your state legislator to thank them for making this available to all of Indiana’s residents.