Written by Angie Teed
A new branch of the Indianapolis Public Library will soon be open on the Southside! The library was not able to host a groundbreaking ceremony due to COVID when construction began on the West Perry Branch in April, so organizers held a “Topping Off Ceremony” to give a preview of the features the library will contain.
West Perry Branch Location
The library is currently under construction at 6650 South Harding Street, Indianapolis, 46217. It is just northwest of the intersection of Southport Road and Harding Street.
A Library for a Growing Area
During the library’s strategic planning process in 2013, a large geographical gap in facilities and services was noticed on the southside of Indianapolis in Perry Township. It is one of the largest and fastest growing school districts in the state. Currently, Perry Township is home to 115,000 Indianapolis residents, including just over 16,000 K-12 students.
Jeff Bennett, the Deputy Mayor of Community Development stated, “The need for a library on the southside shows this is a thriving, growing, diverse part of town.”
Design of the space began in January of 2019, and input from the community was utilized. Jackie Nytes, CEO of the Indianapolis Public Library said, “This branch is a testament to the patience of the people on the Southside,” having waited until other items on the strategic planning list were complete before this project started.
Features of the West Perry Branch
The 24,000 square foot library is situated on six acres. It is designed with several goals in mind.
The first goal was to create a significant community building. The community room within the library will be a flexible space with room for up to 100 people and there will be four smaller group study rooms accessible to the community.
Another goal was to create a family-friendly space that was open, inviting, and healthy. The library will have a children’s section complete with interactive panels and a tunnel children can climb through to get to the space.
There will also be an adult section, teenage section, quiet reading section, and a family room with a large fireplace. The library will also feature at least 30 computer workstations and even have a drive up book drop to drop off books.
The interior will be filled with light with large windows on three sides of the building. A world language materials area will honor the area’s diversity. A marketplace will be a focal point as visitors enter the library.
Designers also wanted to make the library environmentally friendly. Over 80 percent of power for the library will be supplied by solar panels. The library will coexist with its natural environment with its warm wood tones. Patrons will even be able to view the gorgeous tree-lined backdrop as they read from the library’s outdoor patio.
The much-anticipated grand opening of the West Perry Branch is set for August of 2021. As Judge Jose Salinas, President of the Library Board, stated at the Topping Off Ceremony, “The strength of a library is the ability to bring people together. We need it now more than ever.”
6650 South Harding Street