Written by Audrey Walters
The Hancock County Public Library serves 8 of the 9 townships in Hancock County. The HCPL’s two branches are the Sugar Creek Branch in New Palestine and the main Central Library in Greenfield.
Explore the Central Library
We headed to Greenfield to check out the main library, at the corner of W McKenzie and N Franklin. Sitting on over 5 acres, the 15,000-square-foot library was updated a few years ago. This library includes something for everyone, including a large children’s area, a designated teen section, a computer lab, video games, and periodicals to check out, and a wide variety of programming to explore.
As you enter the library, the Holds shelf is to the right, the main desk is front and center. To the right of the main desk, you can find periodicals, the computer lab, and the teen area. To the left is the adult section and the children’s area is towards the back.
Books, Pretend Play, and More in the Children’s Section
The children’s area at the library contains far more than books, so plan to spend at least an hour here. As you walk in, you’ll encounter a large fish tank built into the wall. The area to the right houses book bags containing a variety of stories for quick and easy checkout. There is also a section of phonics books.
The area directly to the left has computers with programming for kids to explore. Elementary students also frequent the leveled reader’s area. HCPL’s selection is impressive, with hundreds of topics and series to choose from.
While exploring the nonfiction areas, we easily found the biography section and the children’s dictionaries and encyclopedias, as well as books about dinosaurs and holidays. Well-marked and filled with a large selection, these popular areas will make your reader happy. If you need to use the restroom while in the children’s section, there is a family restroom located against the wall where the office is. It has both a fold-out changing table and a step stool.
In the center of the children’s area is the children’s desk, where employees can help to locate a specific book or discuss programming. Directly behind it is the pirate-themed self-checkout station that looks like a treasure chest. Super cool!
Creative Play Area Captures Kids’ Imaginations
Behind the chest are two playhouses. One has a medical theme and the other has a kitchen theme. Your littles are bound to have a blast pretending. You’ll also find a toddler area here. Full of windows and bench seating, this area is inviting to all ages. The books are all at toddler level. Under one of the benches live some bins of toys, which rotate to provide variety.
Have a builder in your family? There’s an entire section for legos. With a specific playhouse and lots of blocks, your little architect will be thrilled. Have a thespian? There’s an inviting step-up stage, with 2 benches for the ‘audience’. Check out the educational display near the stage. The features rotate and focus on science themes.
Teen Section Featuring Four Gaming Systems
A designated teen section houses an impressive graphic novel section as well as fiction and non-fiction selections. In the back is a lounging area with two televisions, one with a PS5 and an XBOX One and the other with a Nintendo Switch and a PS4. Check out a controller and a game at the information desk. There’s also a teen room cabinet with board and card games to borrow.
Outside the teen area is a specialty tween section. You can locate DVDs to borrow as well as Everyone and Teen-rated video games next to the tween section.
Between the teen area and the main lobby, the computer lab offers a space for those who don’t have a personal computer to work and do research. Both PC and Mac computers are available in the public computer area. All computers have internet access and Microsoft Office 2013 products. Laptops for in-library use are also available for checkout for up to two hours a day at the Information Desk. For children, kid-friendly iPad tablets are available for one hour of in-house use. Want to borrow an iPad to use at home? iPad tablets are also available for 14-day checkout.
The adult section of the library has many small work areas, including a quiet space lined with windows. Choose your seat – a comfy chair, a table for two, or a bar-height window spot. There are study rooms with a capacity for 6 to 12 people. Rooms can be used for up to two hours and reservations can be made up to one week in advance by visiting the Information Desk or making a request online.
Tucked in between study rooms is the Local History and Genealogy Room, which was established for the collection and conservation of Hancock County’s local history and genealogical materials. In this space, you can locate birth and death records from 1882 and on, high school yearbooks, how-to books for genealogical research, newspapers from as early as 1860, and James Whitcomb Riley memorabilia and literary works.
The adult section is also where you can find video games with M (Mature) ratings. The library offers older games and new releases for multiple platforms.
The library provides several other helpful amenities to its patrons. Carts for collecting your reading materials can be found in a couple locations around the library. There is a large (1,850 sq feet) community room with space for 200 people that can be rented out for public use. A lobby with tables and a vending machine provides an area for snacking. A return slot where you can drop off books is located near the front entrance.
HCPL offers a lot of programming, some seasonal and some year-round. During both the summer and the month of February, ask about reading programs. Participants can log their time spent reading and then earn prizes.
All year long, throughout the week, the library offers several story time sessions. Baby, toddler, preschool, and family opportunities are available. There are book clubs and crafting sessions for kids, tweens, and teens, as well as adults.
On the weekends, find community events like blood drives or specialty gatherings like Bentley’s Buddies, where kids can practice reading to friendly dogs. Summertime brings movies, concerts, and oodles of kids’ programming. Many of these events require pre-registration and often fill up, so be sure to check the website or the monthly newsletter for details.
The library is now offering a contactless delivery service. If a condition or situation prevents you from visiting a library location, the Bookmobile will safely deliver your library materials and pick up any materials to be returned.
The library is about more than checking out books. It is a community resource for all. The Hancock County Public Library is a gift for the people of Hancock county to enjoy for years to come.
900 W McKenzie Rd
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