Library Memories: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library

Flash forward from Junior High to adulthood.  Sometime around the mid-90’s I discovered the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library.  The downtown branch on St. Clair was a nice lunch hour walk from the office.  I guess maybe I should fill in a little of the years in between, though.

During high school and college I utilized the school libraries which were all wonderful.  In fact, a specific memory of college just popped into my head that I might have to write about sometime.  It was also during this time that I bought a significant number of books.  Most are still on my shelf, now.  I don’t recall what made me wander down Pennsylvania St. the first time, but it was the beginning of a great “friendship”.  By this time, in addition to books, IMCPL (and most other libraries) had CD’s, movies (first VHS and then DVD).   IMCPL even had works of art that could be borrowed.  I had friends who shared an apartment.  They would check out different paintings each month to decorate their living room.

While books were first and foremost, I checked out music and movies quite frequently, too.    One of the fondest memories I have of when my kids were younger was watching all five seasons of The Dick Van Dyke Show with them -which I checked out from IMCPL.  We laughed ourselves silly!

I recall an incident at the Wayne Branch on Girls School Road that was indicative of the changes in technology taking place at the time.  I was waiting in line at the check-out desk behind a gentleman who was rather upset at the steep fine he had incurred on his overdue videos.  As I recall the fines for overdue videos back then were significantly more than the fines for overdue books.  The very pleasant lady behind the desk showed him how to keep track of his account and how to renew books on-line.  After her friendly presentation, the gentleman stormed out of the branch saying that he had one problem with what she was telling him – he didn’t have a computer and he never wanted one, he didn’t “believe in them”.  As I stepped up to the counter,  she looked at me and said “I have a love/hate relationship with computers myself, but I think they’re here to stay.”

The Main Branch of IMCPL moved temporarily to the former Indiana State Museum building (ISM had moved to a new building) sometime around 2004/2005 – my dates are little foggy here.  This move was to accommodate the renovation, remodeling and expansion of the Main Branch on St. Clair.  I don’t know all the details, but I do recall that this expansion took much longer than anticipated.  I had already moved from Indianapolis when it was completed.  I have been back to the Main Branch since it’s been completed.  All I can say is that I could take a week-long vacation to this library now!  It’s huge!  See the pictures below!

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4 responses to “Library Memories: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library

  1. Hi Dale,
    Thanks for sharing your library memories. Here are a few of mine: I grew up with the IMCPL’s Brown Branch and Emerson Branch. The Brown branch (now at Audubon and Washington on the east side) was the one I visited the most frequently. I don’t think the Emerson Branch (37th & Emerson) is still a library branch today, but some kind of church school. The Brown branch had a children’s and adult’s section. As you went in the door theChildren’s section was to the right. I remember it was a big deal for me when I started using the grown-ups side. 🙂
    I remember when I first learned that libraries also loaned artwork. It wasn’t until college, when I was visiting a friend at his off campus apartment and noticed he had some”pretty cool” paintings. He explained it to me.
    I work pretty close to the Nora branch today, and I’ve stolen a few lunch hour’s worth of reading over there on days when I need some peace.
    The Central Branch is my favorite and I’ve become almost a “regular” there sunday afternoons. Mostly just reading while using their Wifi (their download speeds are killer!) but also sometimes working or writing for my blog.
    -Jay

    • Cool memories, Jay! And thanks for reminding me that it’s the “Central” branch not the “main” branch. The library that I utilize in Northern Kentucky has a “main” branch. I wish I could spend more time at the IMCPL central branch. I think I’ve been to the Nora branch on a few occasions.
      On a different note, I think I’m going to re-read Johnny Tremain sometime around the middle of September. Feel free to join me if you would like.

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