Featured Events

The Big Read in Indy! The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu


Indianapolis residents are invited to read and celebrate The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Ethiopian-American author Dinaw Mengestu through April 30 as part of the national campaign, "The Big Read," which is designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture.

As one of 77 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Indy Library will host programs relating to the book chosen among 36 Big Read book selections in U.S. or world literature. The title provides an opportunity to highlight a growing immigrant population Indianapolis' international community. Its theme highlights the differences between the expectations of American life and its reality and is one that resonates with new citizens' own experiences.

Mengestu is a graduate of Georgetown University and Columbia University and was named a "20 Under 40" writer by The New Yorker. His book received the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" award. The book focuses on the life of an Ethiopian immigrant who, after fleeing his country's revolution, faces an inner crisis of displacement and the challenges of living between worlds. Mengestu strongly identifies with his characters' sense of alienation and detachment because he lived in between different cultures and worlds as an Ethiopian immigrant in Illinois.

In addition to reading the book, local residents are invited to a Central Library exhibit showcasing historical maps and information about Ethiopia, Ethiopian traditional clothing, artworks and artifacts. The exhibit also highlights Indianapolis families of Ethiopian adoption as well as current efforts to foster adoption of children within Ethiopia. The exhibit will continue through April 30 and can be viewed during regular Central Library hours.

Other activities as part of "The Big Read" will include book discussions at various Indy Libraries and community locations led by expert discussion guides from the Indiana Writers Center. Book discussion kits will be available for pick-up from Library locations for book groups who want to read and discuss The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears.

The author himself will appear on Saturday, April 25 at 2 p.m. at Central Library to share his experiences as an Ethiopian immigrant and give insight into the process of writing his novel. Book signings will follow.

Other April events will include the "Ethiopian Lunch and Learn Series" at select Indy Library locations, during which attendees can enjoy traditional food of Ethiopia and learn about its history and culture. Also, there will be a screening of the documentary, "Sincerely, Ethiopia," a film that highlights the positive community-building taking place to combat issues faced by Ethiopians to help create a brighter future.

"The Big Read" is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts and made possible with support from The Library Fund, a Fund of The Indianapolis Foundation, Arts Midwest, The International Center, Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, Felege Hiywot Center, Indiana Writer Center, the Mayor's Office of International and Cultural Affairs and Friends of the Library through gifts to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation.

Call 275-4099 for more information about these free Library events.


National Crime Victims' Rights Week @ the Library

As part of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 19 - 25, 2015, the entire community is invited to support events to raise awareness of rights and services available to victims of criminal violence of all kinds.

Patrons are invited to Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair Street, on Tuesday, April 21 and Wednesday, April 22 during Library hours to view an exhibit that memorializes the 135 victims of criminal homicide in Indianapolis in 2014. It will include a display of 135 pairs of shoes, along with signage to honor the victims and resources to raise awareness about violence and support a healing community. Viewers are invited to write messages of support and hope to leave as part of the display. The exhibit, sponsored by the Survivors of Violent Death Support Group, in coordination with Legacy House, the IMPD Victim's Assistance Unit and the Library, will be staffed by Legacy House staff to answer questions.

The commemoration continues at Central Library when "Sexual Assault: A Panel Discussion" is presented on Wednesday, April 22 from 6 - 8 p.m. in the Clowes Auditorium. Join the community dialogue about media portrayal of sexual assault that affects attitudes and beliefs about such assault. The forum will include media and movie clips portraying stories of sexual assault. A panel of experts will lead discussion of how these messages influence society's understanding of sexual assault, consent and victimization. Panelists include Indiana House Representative Christina Hale, WTHR Anchor Scott Swan, Prevail Assistant Director Michelle Corrao, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Cara Berg, and North Central High School Student Leader Sophie Peirce. This program is hosted by the Domestic Violence Network in coordination with IndyPL.

Other community events during the week include the "11th Annual ROCC-a-Thon" on the South Quadrant of Monument Circle on Thursday, April 23 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., as well as the "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" event on Saturday, April 25 at 11 a.m. at IUPUI's Wood Plaza Fountain.

For more information about these community activities, call 275-4099.


Women in Jazz Celebration

Individuals of all ages are invited to examine the contributions of American women to the jazz movement between the 1920s and 1970s during the "Women in Jazz Celebration," on Monday, April 13 from 5:30 - 8 p.m. at Central Library, in the Clowes Auditorium, 40 E. St. Clair Street.

The evening begins with a jazz performance by noted pianist and recording artist Monika Herzig and her band, followed by a screening of the documentary, "Lady Be Good: Instrumental Women in Jazz" by Kay Ray, which describes the development of all-woman jazz groups through rare footage, photographs and provocative interviews with women musicians. At 7:30 p.m., Ray will discuss the film and answer audience questions.

Call 275-4099 for more information about this free Library event.



Adults in need of legal assistance are encouraged to take advantage of a free public service presented by The Indianapolis Public Library, the Indianapolis Bar Association and Indianapolis Bar Foundation entitled "Ask-a-Lawyer" on Tuesday, April 14 from 2 - 6 p.m. at various Library locations.

Qualified, licensed attorneys will provide free, one-on-one legal consultations as a community service.

"Ask-a-Lawyer" will be presented at Central Library as well as the Brightwood, College Avenue, Eagle, East 38th Street, East Washington, Nora, Haughville, Pike, Southport and Lawrence branches.

If individuals are unable to visit any Library location during this prescribed time, they can call 317-269-2000 between 2 - 8 p.m. to speak with an attorney at no cost.


José-Luis Orozco at the Library!

joseluisorozco.jpgRenowned bilingual children's musician, author and educator José-Luis Orozco will bring his unique celebration of music and learning to different audiences during free programs on Saturday, May 2 at Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair Street.

Educators and childcare providers are invited to Orozco's "Early Childhood Educator Workshop" at 10 a.m. in Central Library's Clowes Auditorium. He will demonstrate how to use music, rhythm, games and songs to enhance early childhood language skills. This highly-interactive workshop brings the rich heritage of the Spanish-speaking world to those attending. Each educator will receive a free book and CD by Orozco.

Registration for this workshop is required by calling 636-5727.

At 2 p.m., Orozco will present a "Concert for Children and Families" in Central Library's Clowes Auditorium. Those of all ages are invited to sing, dance and celebrate Latin American culture during this interactive concert. The first 100 children in attendance will receive a free book by Orozco.

Orozco encourages learning the Spanish language and promoting Latin American culture through his art. His rich catalog includes 15 CDs, a DVD and three award-winning songbooks, a collection that has achieved over two million in sales. Born in Mexico City, Orozco shares his music nationwide in live performances each year for over 100,000 educators, who then integrate his music into their classroom curriculum.

His 2009 book, Rin, Rin, Rin, Do, Re, Mi, richly illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner David Diaz, shows how everyday activities such as cooking, singing, reading and storytelling can foster essential early literacy skills. His recent 20-track compilation music album, "Favorite Spanish Songs for Kids," features some of the most beloved children's songs, including "Old MacDonald" and "Itsy, Bitsy Spider" in Spanish.

Call 275-4099 for more information about these free Library programs.