NAME: Rachael Adele Heger
TITLE: Indiana Collection Supervisor  FOR: Indiana State Library
SINCE? I’ve worked for ISL since 2007, and became supervisor in 2008.
ORIGINALLY FROM? The north side of Indianapolis.
YOUR JOB DUTIES INCLUDE? Collecting, preserving, promoting and making accessible materials related to the unique history and culture of Indiana. On a daily basis, that means I answer questions on a variety of topics, serve as a subject specialist in Indiana newspapers, work with other agencies and groups on projects, plan workshops, give tours of our gorgeous building, and anything else that comes my way.
PROJECT/S YOU ARE MOST PROUD TO HAVE BEEN PART OF? I’m proud of being a part of Hoosier History Day at the Indiana State Fair since the beginning. I coordinate the State Library’s efforts, and I love spending a day outside of the library, meeting Hoosiers and encouraging them to visit us.
OTHER PROJECTS WE MIGHT RECOGNIZE? I’m currently serving as a project coordinator for ISL’s comprehensive collection inventory: staff members are dedicating about 90 hours a week checking our shelflist against what’s on the shelves, and also against our online catalog. This isn’t glamorous work, but it’s really good for us to know for certain that we have what we say we have. I don’t think this has been done in the nearly 200 years we’ve been in existence.
WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? Getting people excited about what we have at the Indiana State Library. I believe that people connect to other people, not to institutions, so providing a personal touch goes a long way.
WORST PART OF WHAT YOU DO? I get disappointed when ISL is overlooked, particularly for donations of Indiana related materials that I know would augment our collection nicely.
HOW YOU DEFINE PERSONAL SUCCESS? When I help patrons find information that they previously couldn’t find, I can’t help but be pleased. To me, that’s a successful day. Personally and professionally, I like to solve problems.
ADVICE TO SOMEONE ELSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO DO WHAT YOU DO? Pick an interesting college major— librarians have a million different backgrounds. I work with fascinating people with all sorts of hobbies and interests, and I really think those passions make them better librarians. Of course, volunteer, go to library school, and always be curious.
IF YOU WERE GRANTED ONE WISH RELATING TO YOUR JOB/CAREER/ORGANIZATION, WHAT WOULD IT BE? I would love the Indiana State Library to be the first place people think of when they have any Indiana research need, and would therefore donate great collections to us.
WOULDN’T HAVE MADE IT TO WHERE YOU ARE WITHOUT? My education, and the support I received from my parents and husband.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? I’m a pretty competitive person, so I’m motivated by results.
WHO WERE/ARE YOUR MENTORS AND HOW DID THEY HELP? When I was in college, I worked seasonally at Carmel-Clay Public Library in their young adult department. My supervisor, Hope Baugh, showed me what librarianship was really about and encouraged me. I’m very thankful she did. I’m also grateful to all of my current and former supervisors for showing me different management styles, especially David Westerhaus and Liz Schoettle.
WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN HISTORY? My freshman advisor at Ripon College (Ripon, WI) advised me to take a history class on love in the renaissance. I was hooked, and became a history major and classics minor. I’m so fortunate to have a career in the Midwest where I can actually use both of my degrees.
MOST INTERESTING BIT OF INDIANAPOLIS HISTORY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED? The much beloved LS Ayres Tea Room is currently used as meeting space for a large office building. The columns, French doors and integrity are still there!
YOU CAN HAVE DINNER WITH ANYONE FROM INDIANAPOLIS PAST? WHO & WHY? Madam CJ Walker, because I’ve always been impressed with her business and marketing acumen.
YOUR CAREER IN AN ALTERNATE LIFE? Personal trainer: equal parts cheerleader and drill sergeant. I would also love to make my gym time tax deductible.
ANY INTERESTING FAMILY CONNECTIONS TO INDIANAPOLIS PAST? My great grandfather, Sol Levin, started Labor News. Labor News was Indianapolis’ labor newspaper, and it was a nice connection when I became a newspaper librarian and could see all of his archived issues here.

Inside the Indiana State Library

FAVORITE VIEW IN THE CITY? The top floor of the Senate Avenue Parking Facility (where state employees park) is the best spot for watching downtown fireworks.
FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN INDIANAPOLIS? I love my neighborhood, so you can usually find me at Taste on the weekends and Twenty Tap for darts and French fries.
FAVORITE CITY BESIDES INDIANAPOLIS? St. Louis. I lived there for two years before moving back to Indy, and had a wonderful time.
FAVORITE HISTORY RELATED BOOK OR MOVIE? “The Complete Claudine” by Colette is an old favorite.
ULTIMATE BEVERAGE? Coconut milk with chia seeds. I’m an unapologetic health nut. I also love a Pimm’s Cup at my neighbor’s annual Summer Solstice party.
COLLECT ANYTHING? I’m a quilter, so I’m always collecting fabric. I’m also obsessed with vintage dresses.
FAVORITE QUOTE? “Obsessed is what the lazy call the dedicated.”
IF YOUR LIFE HAD A THEME SONG, IT’D BE? The Monster Mash! Sometimes, you just need to throw a party.

3 responses to “Heritage Steward: Rachael Heger”

  1. Jim says:

    Now isn’t that a coincidence – Rachael just yesterday helped me with an item at the ISL I looked at as part of some research I’m doing.

  2. Paul-Michael Montoya says:

    Rachael congratulations on being the Heritage Steward. What a great accomplishment. And the quilt is so beautiful and colorful. : )

  3. basil berchekas jr says:

    More dedicated Hoosiers like her WILL make the difference! Historically!

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