Sunday, November 17th, 2019

Indiana Room at library rededicated Saturday

Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Huntington City-Township Public Library’s Indiana Room was rededicated and received a new name on Saturday, November 2. The long standing room full of the rich history of Huntington and beyond is now known as the B. Joan Keefer Genealogy and Local History Center.

Beka Lemons, executive director of the library, began the ceremony, with the words. “We are here today to celebrate this room as part of our library.”

Keefer has spent years researching and preserving the history of Huntington County and the genealogy of its people. She began her career at the former library on Park Drive as a volunteer under Betty Heffelfinger who started the Indiana Room in 1975 on the upper floor. The library director at the time was Myron Smith. Keefer was hired as the director on January 3, 1978. She has been known to say “Give me a good dead relative and we can go to town.”

She has dedicated much of her life to telling the story of Huntington and Huntington County.  She has been, and is still, County Historian, initially from 1984 to 1992, and again from 1999 to the present. She has been the County Genealogist since 2008, and served on the board of the Huntington County Historical Society from 2000 to 2006. Her position as director of the Indiana Room has spanned the years from 1978 to 2016. She has continued to volunteer in her spare time and often takes phone calls at home.

Keefer has helped many individuals and organizations research their family and community histories. She has also conducted research that has helped provide historical knowledge to countless organizations.

Keefer has received numerous local and state awards for her work, including the Lieutenant Governor’s Hospitality Award in 2001 and the Willard C. Heiss Family History/Genealogy Award in 2007 from the Indiana Historical Society. She was selected to represent Huntington County as a Torchbearer in the 2016 Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay. Keefer was a member of the Huntington County Honors Class of 2017.

The materials displayed from the 1988 election campaign of Vice President Dan Quayle were organized by Keefer for the Quayle Vice-Presidential Museum in Huntington. In 2006, she was part of the Huntington County Courthouse Centennial Committee. She was also involved in the preparation of publishing Huntington County Pictorial History book along with several other projects. She has dedicated time to help locate and index the cemeteries of Huntington County, index history books and also to travel the county to further expand her knowledge of the place she represents. She has spent many days in dusty courthouse basements and traveling for research purposes.

With a large group of those she has helped looking on, Keefer was honored with the renaming of the Indiana Room. The B. Joan Keefer Genealogy and Local History Center will forever immortalize a woman who has helped so many with her love of history.