Programming and Events
The Library serves as a community place for cultural enrichment and lifelong learning. In 2011, the Library presented 9,916 juvenile and adult programs attended by 216,617 individuals. Many programs were presented in partnership with community organizations.
The Library began offering free classes, attended by 76 eager early adopters, on downloading eBooks and audiobooks. As evidence in the soaring popularity of eBooks, patrons downloaded 122,444 free Library eBooks in 2011, compared to 23,483 in 2010. The Library's collection of eBooks totals over 35,000 and continues to grow!
In support of the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis, the Library's free "Super Scarves" knitting classes gave craft lovers an opportunity to help outfit some 8,000 Super Bowl volunteers with warm blue and white scarves.
For the 23rd consecutive year, the Central Library's Meet the Artists exhibit of locally-prominent African-American artists along with the special Gala reception was a highlight on the city's cultural calendar. It was sponsored by the Library's African-American History Committee, which also presented Fall Fest 2011 featuring author and television personality Judge Greg Mathis.
It was a milestone year for many Library branches. The East Washington Branch, one of two remaining Carnegie libraries still serving Indianapolis residents, celebrated its 100th anniversary. The Shelby Branch assumed its new name, the Garfield Park Branch, following a major renovation that will allow it to be known as "The Green Library in the Park." In addition, the Nora Branch celebrated its 40th birthday and the Irvington Branch commemorated 10 years of service at its current location.
In celebration of the diversity of world cultures and people, the Library provided a number of free programs focusing on their history, arts, music, cuisine and language. Highlighting these offerings was the series, "Journey Through the Middle East," which concluded with a free concert at Central Library by Oscar-winning composer and world music producer Yuval Ron. His concert, "Sacred Music of the Middle East," brought together musicians from various faith traditions to underscore the ancient and deep intercultural connections among them.
Six Library locations received energy-saving upgrades as outdated lighting systems were replaced by high efficiency fluorescent lamps. These lighting retrofits will result in a savings of approximately $84,000 per year in energy costs.
Aspiring writers received instruction on writing their life stories, creating blogs and composing poetry during the "Workshops for Writers" series presented at various Library locations by the Writers Center of Indianapolis. Teens were especially interested in the program on writing graphic novels.
The Library's success would not be possible without our dedicated volunteers. In 2011, 384 volunteers contributed a total of 16,187 hours, equating to a commensurate value of $337,499 of service. Their activities included serving homebound patrons through Library Express and assisting at the Indy Library Store book sales and with branch collection management.
A variety of professional musical presentations soothed the soul at the Library. The Hometown Roots concert series featured performances inspired by American musical traditions. Members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra presented free monthly concerts at Central Library during the Classical Concerts series. The 30-piece circus punk marching band Mucca Pazza received rave reviews from all ages for its Central Library performance. Children were exposed to the jazz genre during the Hot Jazz for Cool Kids series. Also, festive Irish music and dance programs highlighted the traditions of Ireland, Scotland and England.
Sponsored by IUPUI, a special exhibit examining what it means to be homeless in Indianapolis was on display at Central Library. It was accompanied by a public forum that addressed archeological study of homeless culture and featured an open discussion of public policy on homeless life.
Citizens offered their input on the next big decisions facing Indianapolis at the "Choose Your Own Adventure" program co-sponsored by Know No Stranger and Big Car Collectives. The program was part of Indy Talks, a collaboration fostering a sense of community through respectful and creative civic dialogue.
Confidential consultations with qualified licensed attorneys occurred at various Library locations during "Ask-a-Lawyer." This community service project was presented in partnership with the Indianapolis Bar Association and the Indianapolis Bar Foundation.
The Library's online digital collection expanded with the addition of the Irvington Oral Histories. Audio recordings, photos and written transcripts of Irvington residents from up to 40 years ago told the story of the historic Irvington neighborhood. The Library saw a total of 147,863 item views among its entire collection in 2011.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward reflected on his experiences with current and past political figures during the 2011 McFadden Memorial Lecture before a packed house at North Central High School. Those attending were treated to an up-close moment with the author at a special post-lecture booksigning.
The Library served as a partner in the Citizenship and Residency Alliance of Greater Indianapolis in support of citizenship and naturalization efforts. A free information session for prospective citizens included the naturalization process and the new naturalization test, rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship, and steps to apply for Green Card status.