More than a depository for books and information, the Library plays an important role in shaping the community’s narrative. The Library encourages all to learn, explore, grow and share through essential programs and services and engaging events. Tax dollars support basic expenses such as staff salaries, building upkeep and most of the Library’s collection. The majority of the Library’s programs are possible because of support from Friends of the Library, corporate sponsors and philanthropic partners. Read on for more about Foundation-funded programs that enhance patrons’ experiences and encourage lifelong learning.

Children’s Fund

Summer Reading Program

The Library’s annual eight-week Summer Reading Program motivates more than 56,000 children and parents to increase the number of books and time they spend reading. It is offered free of charge at all 22 branches, Central Library and 140 youth-serving agencies through bookmobile service.

Programs at branch libraries


To assist with the high number of English as a Second Language learners located in their neighborhood, the Haughville Branch hosts a monthly bilingual story time to encourage dual language learning and school readiness.

East Thirty-Eighth Street

The East Thirty-Eighth Street Branch invited area youth to work with the Library’s artist-in-residence Tony Radford to create arts and crafts, culminating in an art sale and exhibition. Two-hour workshops ran weekly for twelve weeks.


Representatives make periodic presentations to partner organizations (such as Fathers and Families, Project Home Indy and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ Neighborhood Nights) about childhood literacy and give away library card applications, brochures and books. In addition, InfoZone offers the TechZone experience for patrons to explore emerging technology.

Garfield Park

Through a partnership with area middle and high schools, teens will meet three times a year to discuss books. They will receive tote bags and copies of the book discussed for their home libraries. The program will give away a Kindle and gift cards at the end of the year to encourage teens to participate in the club.


LEGOs are a fun and interactive way of introducing and supporting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) topics to students. Through the LEGO Madness program, monthly sessions will offer activities such as building challenges, free-build time, and literary activities.

College Avenue

The hugely popular Music Circle program involves 40 minutes of free, secular music and movement programming encouraging active learning of early learning concepts and school-readiness skills.


Decatur's LEGO Play sessions will begin with a short story or discussion of a theme. Children will be challenged to build something related to the theme, encouraging open-ended creativity.

Ready to Read

Launched in 2009, Ready to Read is the Library’s early childhood literacy initiative. Special focus is paid in this initiative to reaching children most at-risk.

On the Road to Reading:

The Library makes monthly visits to over 180 preschool childcare classrooms in low- to moderate-income areas, sharing story programs, delivering bags full of age-appropriate books and providing themed-kindergarten readiness kits and resources to parents and providers.

Preschool Programs

The Library offers a series of six fun, educational workshops covering topics like music, art, wellness, science and math throughout Central Library and the branches.

Early Childhood Conference

The Library hosts quarterly, accredited professional development programs for 800 childcare providers, featuring a nationally-known keynote speaker.

Outreach to Hispanic and Latino Families

The Library offers quarterly bilingual story programs and parent resources at branch libraries with large Hispanic populations to encourage dual language learning and gives away Spanish-language books to participating families. Additional El Dia de Los Ninos celebrations are held throughout the Library system in May.

Teen Tech Week and Teen Read Week

Two weeks of teen-centered programming and events held in the spring and fall, respectively. Themed activities, discussions, presenter talks and contests encourage teens to explore emerging technology and literature alongside their peers.

Curveside Ride

Teachers who wish to bring their students to the Learning Curve@ Central Library or the InfoZone Branch for a field trip will be offered a $100 transportation subsidy through the Curveside Ride program.

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​Marion County Internet Library

Through funding from the Library Foundation, the Library makes a collection of commercial databases available to academic, public and school libraries in Marion County and provides database training for librarians.

Teen Read, Return, Repeat Bags

Teens borrow bags filled with three young adult paperback books without library cards. Many teens, especially in low-income areas, have blocked library cards because of overdue fines. Teens in this situation will be directed to Earn & Learn, a program where youth can “read down” their Library debt.

Book Club in a Bag

Book clubs make up a significant number of library users, but it is often difficult for book clubs to get access to enough copies of a book for their group members due to the popularity of certain titles. This program is intended to make book club coordination easier by creating and providing book club kits.

​Digital Collections

As Indianapolis approaches its bicentennial, the Library will preserve and share history through a city-wide digitization project and has set the goal of establishing 1,000 new digital collections by 2020. Digital projects already underway include the Lawrence J. Downey Library History Collection, the records of local art organizations, the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association, the Library’s African-American History Committee and more.

Mobile Reference at Central

This program will equip Central Library staff with tablets so they can more flexibly and easily check records for patrons in need of assistance.

eResource Pop-up Library

Many patrons don’t have the means to develop digital skills, and also don’t understand the value that digital skills have. The eResource Pop-up Library will give presentations and one-on-one demonstrations to show patrons the wealth of digital materials available at the Library and teach them how to used databases and electronic devices.

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Cultural & Community Fund

​Marian McFadden Memorial Lecture

Annual free lecture by an accomplished, high-profile author, open to the greater community. Past McFadden speakers have included Eric Carle, Khaled Hosseini, Neil Gaiman, David McCullough, Anne Patchett and Mo Willems. Approximately 1,000 people attend each year.

This year's lecture will be on Friday, April 15, and will feature children's author Jacqueline Woodson. Details are available here.

​World Language Book Giveaways

The Library gives away free books to children and adults who attend fairs, festivals and school events. Books are in Spanish and other languages spoken by local immigrants.

Balloon in 500 Festival Parade

Indianapolis takes pride in being identified with the Indianapolis 500 and the surrounding community activities that fuel the month of May. The Library sponsors a literature-themed balloon in the 500 Festival Parade to raise awareness of how the Library system contributes to the quality of life in our community.

Cologne Staff Exchange

A Library staff member will make a visit to the library system in Cologne, Germany to learn and to bring back fresh ideas to invigorate IndyPL.

​Meet the Artist Gala and First Friday Event

The 27th annual Meet the Artists Gala is a two-month-long exhibit of works by local African-American artists at Central Library. It featured live musical entertainment, a fashion show, poetry readings and more. The gala celebration will be February 13 and the exhibit will be part of the First Friday gallery walk on March 6.

IndyPL Book Bike

The Library intends to buy a three-wheeled bike, decorate it and use it to promote the Library at various community events. Staff manning the bike will be able to register event attendees for Library cards, promote eBooks and check out to attendees a small selection of physical books chosen for the event.

Classical Concerts at Central

Approximately 10 times per year, IndyPL brings in ensembles of previous and current Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra members to perform in the Clowes Auditorium at Central Library.

​Fall Fest

Held every November at Central Library, Fall Fest features a lecture by a celebrity author and other performances by local African-American musicians, poets, dancers and more. In addition, winners of the teen Slammin’ Rhymes Poetry contest perform their works. This year's program features 2015 Newbery Medal winner Kwame Alexander, best known for his book “Crossover,” as the keynote lecturer.

Classical Holiday Concerts

IndyPL rings in the season with performances of holiday music in the Clowes Auditorium at Central Library and four regional branch libraries. Concerts typically feature current and previous members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Hometown Roots

Hometown Roots is a series of four concerts showcasing the diversity and talent of local musicians, taking place in the Clowes Auditorium at Central Library on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer and fall.

Using Your Library Multilingual Videos

The Library will create seven video recordings in multiple languages (English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Burmese-Chin, Burmese-Karen, Amharic and Punjabi) that explain how to use various resources and services provided by the Library.

Hot Jazz For Cool Kids

Hot Jazz For Cool Kids is a series of three family-friendly jazz concerts performed by professional jazz musicians in the Clowes Auditorium at Central Library.

Hispanic Heritage Month Concert

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15 each year. To recognize the month, Central Library will host a concert with Pavel Polanco-Safadit.

Adult Summer Reading Program

To encourage adults’ love of recreational reading, the Library established an Adult Summer Reading Program (SRP) in 2014. Adult SRP book discussions are held at Library locations as well as at community locations such as Hubbard & Cravens or Sun King Brewery.


The MakerSpace room in Central Library will be a blend of digital activities like 3D printers and more traditional crafts like sewing or needle crafts or stained glass. The space will be open to youth (12-18) and adults.

Programs at branch libraries

Fountain Square Branch

The Branch will create a one-of-a-kind watercolor piece with artist Robert Carey for the Art Squared event. Staff will also pass out age-appropriate books as part of the Art Squared parade.

Haughville Branch

A community fair was held in the parking lot of the Haughville Branch to celebrate the neighborhood and inform residents of community agencies. Attendees enjoy performances from local entertainers, crafts, book giveaways and other prizes.

InfoZone Branch

In partnership with the Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation, the InfoZone branch placed a StoryWalk® in the Ruckle Street pocket park as a unique way to encourage families to read and exercise together. Laminated story pages will be available at various points along the path, following the natural progression of the story.

Garfield Park Branch

The branch holds an annual Earth Friendly Festival and Summer Reading Program Kick-off. The events provide activities to encourage children and adults to become more environmentally conscious. Children make earth friendly crafts, listen to “green” stories and are encouraged to register for the Summer Reading Program.

Also, once every quarter a librarian from the branch will visit the Compassion Center to share about Library resources, such as job-searching and computer skills classes.

East Thirty-Eighth Street Branch

The branch held a community fair to attract families to the Library’s Summer Reading Program and highlight other resources available in the neighborhood.

College Avenue Branch

The Juneteenth Celebration, which will take place the evening of Friday, June 17, will include family-friendly activities that celebrate African-American culture, as well as face painting, games and other activities.

Brightwood Branch

Brightwood Branch will hold a Summer Reading Program Kick-Off to help encourage children to participate the Summer Reading Game, promoting early childhood literacy. The Kick-Off event will include face-painting, balloon animals, refreshments, games, crafts and live entertainment.

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Lifelong Learning Fund

The Job Center

To support job-seekers with limited technology skills, the Library offers Job Centers at Central Library and the following branches: Brightwood, College Avenue, Eagle, East Thirty-Eighth Street, Garfield Park, Lawrence, Pike, Southport and Warren. Computer assistants staff each lab 15 hours per week, providing technical assistance to patrons.

eBook Tinker Station

The eBook Tinker Stations allow patrons to experiment with popular e-readers. Knowledgeable presenters who are familiar with technology and the Library’s digital collection staff the stations. The presenters encourage patrons to tinker with different eReaders, answer questions and teach patrons to download materials from the digital collection.

Spanish Language Computer Classes

The Library will present a series of computer classes taught in Spanish at Central Library and the Haughville Branch Library.

​MS Office Classes

The Library offers a variety of classes for patrons to develop basic computer literacy skills at the East Thirty-Eighth Street Branch and Central Library.

​Nonprofit Seminars at Central Library

Five seminars, each presented twice, provide affordable information for nonprofits to survive and thrive. The seminars give information to those wanting to start new nonprofit organizations and are a unique educational experience to students of the nonprofit sector.

Programs at branch libraries

Decatur Branch

Decatur's Computer Basics introductory class is designed specifically for individuals requiring in-depth or lengthy instruction, such as senior citizens.

East Thirty-Eighth Street Branch

The Grantsmanship Insitute provides a forum for nonprofit professionals to increase their understanding of the complexity of creating a successful grants management program. Topics include organizational readiness, proposal writing format, management and evaluation.

Garfield Park Branch

Librarians from Garfield Park will deliver tote bags full of teacher resources and information on personalized services the branch can offer, such as school visits (to school or to branch library), classroom collections, etc. at the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

Glendale Branch

The Glendale Branch maintains a seed library for vegetable and flower seeds. Workshops on gardening are also presented. At the end of the season, patrons have the option of returning harvested seeds to the seed library for future patrons’ use.

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Capital Projects


For many years, the Library has offered Call-A-Story, a 24-hour storyline (275-4444) that children can call to hear a story read by community leaders and local celebrities.


The College Avenue, Pike Branch and East Thirty-Eighth Street branch libraries feature well-loved aquariums. The Library Foundation assists with maintenance costs and materials for aquarium-themed storytimes and activities in the branches.

​Little Library in the Lobby

Staff from the Garfield Park Branch will provide books in the Barrington Health Center lobby for patrons to read while waiting for appointments. Patrons will also be able to take books home and return them or a different book on their next visit.

Pocket Parks StoryWalk

The StoryWalk® in Ruckle Park places children’s books out into a community greenspace, presenting a unique opportunity for families to read and exercise together.

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