By Rick Hinton
Libraries exist to serve the community. The buildings from my youth no longer only contain just books, but nowadays so much more: DVDs, newspapers, computer labs, study/activity spaces, music and public meeting rooms. And … ample seating. Something for everyone!
The Indianapolis Public Library is planning a new branch to serve the community in the western section of Perry Township. A series of community meetings — the first held March 13 — solicited the public to offer suggestions on not only the physical design of the building, but also services to offer. The second meeting — Thursday, April 11, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Meridian Woods Park Clubhouse, 6760 Yellowstone Parkway, will reveal attendee input and preferences, and how the project will proceed forward.
Led by project architects from Schmidt Associates and HBM, the new $9.2 million dollar branch will be located near Harding Street and Southport Road. Scheduled for opening in 2021, the five-acre campus will encompass 25,000 square feet. And most importantly — fill a large geographical gap in facilities and service for south Marion County residents.
IPL Communications Specialist, Jon Barnes, was happy with the turnout, estimating roughly 50 “citizens” (those not affiliated with architects or the library) in attendance. Mike Coghian, with Facilities Projects, liked what he saw. “In the April meeting we will present and reflect back upon the input,” he said. “We will refine that even further.”
The crowd was diverse … some quietly listening, others inquisitive of how it would all come together. Longtime Southside resident and councilor for District 20, Jason Holliday, was also in attendance. Everyone rubbed shoulders for the common good and the realization — combined with the existing Southport Branch – that this new facility will provide library access to the growing Perry Township community.