Programs

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, 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 encourage lifelong learning.

Children’s Fund

Summer Reading Program

The Library’s annual eight-week Summer Reading Program motivates more than 50,000 children and parents to increase the number of books and time they spend reading. It is offered free of charge at all 23 branches, Central Library and over 100 youth-serving agencies through bookmobile service. Auxiliary activities, such as live animal shows, art workshops, concerts and science activities, provide further opportunities for learning, discovery and community engagement.


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 160 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 600 childcare providers and education students, featuring nationally-known keynote speakers.

Family Literacy Day

Children's Day is a festival style event filled with activities and opportunities for families to engage with their children and encourage reading aloud. To make the event as inclusive as possible, all publicity and programming is bilingual.

1,000 Books by Kindergarten

Caregivers can register for this program at their nearest branch and receive a book tracking sheet. Rewards will be given as tracking sheets are completed at 250 books, 500 books and 1,000 books read at home.

Programs at branch libraries

East Thirty-Eighth Street

The East Thirty-Eighth Street Branch invite 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 run weekly for twelve weeks.

Fountain Square

Fountain Square librarians visit children and parents in the waiting room at Southeast Health Center to read stories and introduce age-appropriate technology like PLEO the Dino robot, digital cameras and educational iPad apps. Parents learn about the importance of reading to young children. Visitors receive an invitation to the Fountain Square Branch and are encouraged to get a library card.


Haughville

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

InfoZone

InfoZone librarians 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.

Pike

To engage the many teens that frequent the Pike Branch after school, Pike staff will offer Minecraft challenges as well as technology and craft kits, including snap circuits, stop animation and knitting.

Warren

A monthly teen book club at the Warren Branch will bring students from different backgrounds, schools and social areas together to connect over books and get them out of their 'reading comfort zone' to try new things. Paperback copies of the books will be provided for teens.

Wayne

A special storytime will be offered monthly, with an emphasis on children on the autism spectrum. The storytime will follow a visual schedule that allows children to follow the schedule’s steps. Participants will read two to three books and sing songs with sensory components. Children who are overwhelmed will be encouraged to visit a designated quiet area and return when comfortable. Following the story, there will be time for sensory play with items like a tactile balance beam, tunnels and sensory manipulatives.

ALA Great Stories Club

Librarians will work with disadvantaged teens in the IPS ROOTS (Reclaiming Our Opportunities To Succeed) program to create a book club that will meet at IPS high schools over the course of three months. Each meeting will include a discussion of what has been read and how it relates to current issues in the teens’ lives and world. Activities related to those issues will follow each discussion. The club will end with a visit to Central Library. Students will create advertising to promote the continuation and expansion of the club.

Barbershop Books

Library paperbacks will be displayed in local barbershops in the Riverside, Haughville and Spades Park neighborhoods to encourage African-American boys to read or listen to stories while in the barbershop.

Curveside Ride

Teachers who wish to bring their students to the Learning Curve @ Central Library for digital and traditional literacy activities will be offered a $100 transportation subsidy through the Curveside Ride program.


Dinomite Expert Author Visit

Author and paleontologist Scott Sampson will speak at Central Library to both the public and to local teachers about dinosaurs and the importance of nature in childhood learning. Attendees at each session will receive a giveaway book on a first-come, first-served basis.

Summer Reading Program 5-Year Evaluation Plan (Year 2)

A multi-year study will track Indianapolis Public School students who participate in the Summer Reading Program to track the impact the program may have on their reading scores. The study uses data from the Rooney Foundation and will inform promotional plans for the program in schools. This is the second year of the study.

YAT Performances and Teen Workshops

Through a partnership with the Young Actors Theatre group, students visiting Central Library on field trips will be able to experience live theater presented by peers. Additional workshops in Library branches will teach teens and tweens about auditioning, improvisation, script writing and how theatre skills can translate into real life.


Young Adult Author Visits

Authors of books for teens will be brought in to speak at Library locations to help draw teens to the Library and to strength partnerships with local booksellers.

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Collections/Technology

Digital Mobile Labs

To allow individual branches to present technology programming without every branch maintaining its own collection of iPads, laptops and other similar devices, a travelling tech activity trunk will circulate among the branches.


​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.

​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.


Programs at branch libraries

Garfield Park

Many children in the neighborhoods around Garfield Park Branch Library do not have easy access to information about the Library and books for their homes. To provide books and Library information, a Little Library is set up in the lobby of Barrington Health Center, a partner of the Garfield Park Branch, and filled with children and adult books.

Spades Park

A mobile teen lounge in the Spades Park auditorium space will be available for supervised use after-school. The lounge includes laptops, mobile devices and on-the-spot activities in a neighborhood that largely does not have access to these resources.

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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 Thursday, March 2 and will feature Pultizer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz. Details are available here.


Center for African-American Literature and Culture at Central Library

Thanks to support from Lilly Endowment Inc. a Center for African-American Literature and Culture will be created at Central Library. The Center will feature a collection of works by African-American writers from Indiana and the nation and regular programming about African-American history, culture and more.

Global Village

The Library is expanding its world language books collection to meet the reading needs of non-English speakers in the community. Additionally, the Library is partnering with the Immigrant Welcome Center to provide more services for immigrants and newcomers in Library branches.

Other programs provide opportunities for community residents to learn about the cultures of newcomer groups through lunch-and-learn sessions and culture celebrations.

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.


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.

Central Centennial Celebration and Photographic Celebration of Central

Central Library celebrates 100 years of service in October 2017. To commemorate this occasion, the Library plans to host a public celebration event on Saturday, October 7, with programming that highlights the history of Central Library.

Also, Central Library is planning to celebrate the centennial of the Cret Building and the decade of service for the atrium and tower addition. The Library plans to partner with Riviera Camera Club and local architecture firms to create a public photography contest and an exhibition of select entries.

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.


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.

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.

​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 11 and the exhibit will be part of the First Friday gallery walk on March 3.

​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.


Programs at branch libraries

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.

College Avenue Branch

This new book discussion group will meet monthly to discuss contemporary and classic literature. It will be led by a Library staff member in most months, but in April it will be led by a published poet in honor of National Poetry Month and in October it will be led by an Indiana author .

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.

East Washington Branch

The East Washington Branch will hold a kickoff event for families in the neighborhood to promote the 2017 Summer Reading Program. The festival-like event will include outdoor games, face-painting, balloon animals and snacks.

Fountain Square Branch

The Branch will feature activities during Fountain Square's annual Art Squared event. Staff will also pass out age-appropriate books as part of the Art Squared parade.

Also, the Branch will participate in Scare in the Square at Halloween, welcoming children into the Library and giving away free books.

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.

Glendale Branch

On October 31, the Library staff from the Glendale Branch will participate in the Safe Trunk or Treat event at the State Fairgrounds, helping to create an opportunity for families from Marion County to trick or treat in a safe environment. Library staff will give away an age-appropriate book to each child who attends.


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.

Irvington Branch

The Irvington Branch will hold a kickoff event for families in the neighborhood to promote the 2017 Summer Reading Program. The festival-like event will have outdoor games, face-painting and balloon animals.

Pike Branch

The Eat What you Grow! program is a three-part series that will focus on helping people with planting and growing fresh vegetables, preparing the crops for consumption and growing microgreens during the winter months.

Warren Branch

Warren will host informational open houses for teachers in the Warren Township school district to help them learn about the resources available to them at the Library.

The Branch will also host two monthly book clubs – one in the morning and one in the evening – to continue to build a culture of reading and connection among Library patrons.

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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.

​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

East Thirty-Eighth Street Branch

The East Thirty-Eighth Street Branch will provide a forum for novice and seasoned nonprofit leaders to increase their understanding of the complexity of creating a successful grants management program. Through a comprehensive, interactive series of ten workshops led by Brewer & Associates, participants will learn to take a proposal from concept to execution.

Also, the Branch will host a book club and will contribute to the Northeast Corridor community’s goal of building a community of readers by providing reading materials and a leader to facilitate discussion, aiming to increase local literacy levels.

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.

Pike

Students will be guided through working with the "Raspberry Pi," a credit card-sized single board computer that plugs into a TV and keyboard. They will practice using an operating system to load common open-source programs, programming units to be capable of storing music and video files, creating a "virtual network" and more.

Spades Park

The Spades Park Branch seed library will hold vegetable, flower and herb seeds that patrons can check out and plant in their gardens. At the end of the season, patrons will have the option of returning harvested seeds to the seed library for future patrons’ use.

Nora

This series of workshops will take participants through the various steps of writing, from creating their work to getting material published. Participants will be guided by writers Charity Singleton Craig and Ann Kroeker who have coauthored a book called “On Being a Writer.”

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Capital Projects

​Call-A-Story

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.

Aquariums

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.


Pocket Park StoryWalk®

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.

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