There’s an entire library dedicated to children’s book authors and illustrators who call Indiana home. The Indiana Young Readers Center features books written and illustrated for young adults and children and helps children learn about them. The best part, this indoor space space where kids can play and learn is free!
Indiana State Library Young Readers Center
The Young Readers Center is located inside of the Indiana State Library. The Indiana State Library provides special library services that might not be available for all in a local library. They house a lot of government publications, Indiana newspaper prints, genealogy and family resources, books in Braille and large print, books on tape and other collections that are of great use to state agencies, genealogists and those who are blind.
It makes perfect sense to have a space that celebrates the Indiana authors and illustrators of children’s books right here. In addition to fun story times and the freedom to explore the books, the Indiana Young Readers Center offers special programming for kids and families.
Things to do at the Indiana Young Readers Center
The first thing you’ll probably notice is the playhouse inspired by the Clifford books. Did you know that Normal Bridwell is an Indiana author? I didn’t! Kids will love snuggling up with a book and reading to the Clifford stuffed animal inside the play house or reimagining their very own version of their favorite Clifford the Big Red Dog books.
In addition to the playhouse play area, kids will love recreating other favorite stories with puppets, building and construction toys, puppets and stuffed animals and other character toys.
The Center has colorful, interactive exhibits for kids to learn more about featured Indiana authors, Indiana facts, family history, and how to become a writer or illustrator.
If you thought Clifford was the most famous Indiana domestic animal, you may be excited to pose for a photo with the Garfield the cat sculpture. Jim Davis, creator of the Garfield comic strips is from Fairmount, Indiana, just like James Dean!
You’ll find a whole activity cart full of puzzles, coloring sheets, games and other activities.
The Book Collection at the Young Readers Center
The Indiana Young Readers Center collection includes books for both children and teens. Many of these books are available for checkout with a A portion of this collection is already circulating and available to check out with an Indiana State Library Card, which is free. You just need to bring your photo ID. Parents can sign up for a card for their children.
The Center also has collections of autographed books by Indiana authors and illustrators and Indiana state book award winners for children and teens, but these are not available for checking out.
Field Trips to the Young Readers Center
For a long time, a visit to the Indiana State Library has been a tradition for Indiana fourth grade students. When the Indiana Young Readers Center was added, many groups of younger children started visiting to learn about Indiana and our local authors. The staff members of the center are very knowledgable about literary works of Indiana authors and illustrators and love teaching. You can set up a free tour of the Indiana Young Readers Center and State Library for your class or group by calling 317.232.3719.
Parking at the Young Readers Center
The Indiana Young Readers Center and Indiana State Library are located at 315 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis. You can park in nearby parking garages or parking lots but the best parking is found on the street. Metered parking is available on Ohio Street and Senate Avenue.
You can also take the IndyGo Red Line with your kids and get off at the Washington & Capitol stop.
Indiana Young Readers Center Hours
The Indiana Young Readers Center is open Monday—Friday, 8 am – 4:30 pm, Thursday, 8:00 am – 7 pm. The center is also open on the second Saturday of the month, 10 am – 4 pm, with the exception of 2020 Easter weekend, in which they will be open on Saturday, April 4th instead.
Closed: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Good Friday (April 10, 2020), Primary Election Day (May 5, 2020) Memorial Day, Independence Day (July 3, 2020) Labor Day, Columbus Day (October 12, 2020), General Election Day (November 3, 2020), Veteran’s Day (November 11, 2020), Thanksgiving Day, Lincoln’s Birthday (November 27, 2020), Washington’s Birthday (December 24, 2020), Christmas Day (December 25, 2020).
Things to do Near the Indiana State Library
While you’re near, you can visit the Indiana State House Education Center. It’s a space designed for visitors to learn about state government, see Hoosier History in-the making and explore the architecture of the State House. Directly across the street from the Indiana State Library, you can visit the Indiana Historical Society. Here you’ll be a part of historical moments in the You Are There exhibits with live re-enactors.
Rhythm! Discovery Center is a quick 10 minute walk away. A 12 minute walk will get you to the Colts Canal Playground where kids can climb and play. 10 minutes in another direction will get you to a plethora of museums and cultural stops — shoot some hoops and learn about collegiate sports at the NCAA Hall of Champions. Or, you might be interested in walking the cultural trail through White River State Park so see all of the art installations. You can rent hammocks, bicycles and paddle boats at the canal. Watch the steam clock and learn more about Indiana History at the Indiana State Museum. There’s also an IMAX theater inside!
We love the cafe inside of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and there’s a fun children’s play area in this museum too.
Find even more indoor free places to play on indywithkids.com
315 West Ohio Street