Indianapolis Public Library

  • Resident Involvement
  • Third Places
  • Talent Development
  • Open Data
  • Education
  • Neighborhoods
  • Resilience


Primary Contact
Jackie Nytes
Contact via email

Mission statement

The Indianapolis Public Library enriches lives and builds communities through lifelong learning.

Serving residents since 1873, the Indianapolis Public Library system currently consists of 22 branches throughout Marion County, the Central Library downtown, and bookmobile services.

IndyPL’s physical collection of over 2.1 million items includes a variety of formats: books, books on tape, magazines, large print materials, compact discs and DVD’s. The downloadable or streaming collections offer a wide range of ebooks, eaudios, emusic, emagazines and evideos. Foreign language materials are an integral part of the Library’s collections. Items may be checked out by patrons with a library card, which may be obtained free of charge at any Library location.

Affiliate Projects

Affiliate projects are independent projects that are significantly aligned with the strategies of The Bicentennial Plan, and while not derived directly from the Plan 2020 planning process, have been accepted as mutually reinforcing activities.

Indianapolis Public Library is working on the following projects:

IMCPL Strategic Plan – Resident Involvement

Libraries are democratic community spaces that welcome all points of view. With information at the core of meaningful civic engagement, a Library is a logical place to gather and share. The Indianapolis Public Library embraces this concept and provides residents opportunities to participate in unbiased civic life conversations.

We increase resident involvement in municipal government by partnering with IU Center for Civic Literacy, Indy Chamber, League of Women Voters, GIPC, Indy Urban League, Indiana Humanities Council, IUPUI and the University of Indianapolis Institute for Civic Leadership to offer programs that educate residents about the history, structure and future of our local government. We partner with the Secretary of State’s office to hold voter registration drives in our branches, sharing information about upcoming elections. The Library partners with WFYI Broadcasting to host a robust series of conversations about topical educational issues facing families. These include conversations about; Chronic Absence, Bullying, Early Childhood Education, Education Accountability, Teacher Town Halls, Parent-Teacher Partnerships, IPS Transformation Plan and School Chooser.

Thought provoking exhibits at Central Library address controversial issues and encourage dialogue among citizens. The art installation known as “Kin Killin’ Kin” brought together the Mayor’s Office, the Indianapolis Police Force and Community Leaders to view graphic images of the devastation caused by gang shootings in our neighborhoods and reflect on those that lost their lives. Students also visited the exhibit and participated in follow-up educational activities where emotions and feelings could be shared.

These examples of Library forums illustrate how the Library can be a catalyst for community dialog on issues of local and national importance. We strive to be a civic focal point and resource center in our community and the best one-stop source for people to locate quality information about commonly shared life challenges.

IMCPL Strategic Plan – Third Places

Libraries are public space in our cities and important motivating forces in urban development. If democracy is still revered in society, it is necessary to have public spaces where freedom of access and freedom of expression are valued. These public spaces must be open, accessible and tolerant of all. They should be owned by the citizens.

As the Indianapolis Public Library designs new facilities and upgrades existing ones, it embraces this concept of public space. Each location will be highly functional and convenient to use. Buildings will adapt and reconfigure easily to future changes in service. Increased spaces for individual and collaborative work will include personal device functionality. Bandwidth will be robust with Wi-Fi access throughout. We will continually monitor and assess demand with increasing use. The Indianapolis Public Library offers free public access to information in greater quantities than anyone else in our community. To provide optimum public accessibility to all Indianapolis residents, we offer the right devices, in the right quantities, at the right locations.

Beyond our walls, there exist Library public spaces. An example is the partnership with the Herbert Simon Family Foundation that has produced The Public Collection, public art installations housing books provided by the Indianapolis Public Library. Each Public Collection book station is open to everyone, for free. Enjoy a book while visiting, borrow a book, or pass it along to a friend. Our goal is to create public places that improve literacy, foster a deeper appreciation of the arts and raise awareness for education and social justice in our community.

IMCPL Strategic Plan – Talent Development

Sustaining and renewing a strong workforce is core to the health and vibrancy of Indianapolis. Working people create an environment of prosperity and growth. While the need for workforce development services outside the formal classroom is great, only a handful of organizations in Marion County offer this outreach. The Indianapolis Public Library is one of them.

We offer IndyPL Job Centers at nine Library sites. These are neighborhood-level job centers that provide technological training, specialized resources, and educational opportunities for those seeking to enhance their employment skills. Each Job Center is a designated space with laptop computers, Microsoft Suite, wireless Internet access, printers, and other computer related-items. Special skill building classes at each site are provided by expert staff. Sessions are focused on job search strategies, interviewing skills, resume and career development, and instruction on various computer applications.

The IndyPL Job Center model allows for easy replication at a branch or anywhere in our city where residents are seeking employment and re-training. Since its creation, the Job Center has helped 20,143 people (June 2011 to July 2015.) Because of the Job Center learning modules are adaptable to current job climate and the needs of the user it is a popular place to visit. We respect of autonomy of the user. The visitor feels comfortable with knowledgeable staff leading the way to gainful employment.

The Library plans to increase the Job Center locations as staff and additional funding become available. We continue to seek new audiences and marketing opportunities to keep the project fresh and vital. Employment readiness programs for young adults and skill training for underemployed are potential growth areas.

IMCPL Strategic Plan – Open Data

Those in our community are beginning to expect widespread and immediate open access to data. The Indianapolis Public Library will eagerly participate by sharing any useful data for the good of the community.

As part of this accessibility movement, the concept of Open Content is gaining in popularity. In addition to a piece of data that is open for anyone to freely use, reuse and redistribute, there are other resources in our community that are equally important to make accessible. Open Content represents the plethora of community resources, such as photos, letters, newspapers, yearbooks, maps and other documentation of the human experience.

The Indianapolis Public Library has taken the lead to preserve our community collections before they disappear. Often these rich resources are not organized, in good condition or otherwise inaccessible. By digitizing and placing our local and unique materials online, the Open Content of our community adds dimension and value to issues when used in conjunction with non-textual information such as data. In cooperation with the Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Library, University of Indianapolis, and IUPUI University Library, some of the completed digitization projects include, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, Public High School Collections, Indianapolis Firefighters Museum, Indianapolis Postcard Collection, World War I Poster Collection, English’s Opera House and Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood. These can be accessed through the Library’s website.

The Indianapolis Public Library has staff designated to the digitization of our city collections. We will continue to preserve and make accessible important documents that tell the story of our community.

IMCPL Strategic Plan – Education

“Enrich Lives through lifelong learning” reflects the core mission of The Indianapolis Public Library. The first goal of the new Library Strategic Plan focuses on personal growth and learning for everyone in our community. As a result of this commitment, the Library will focus on five educational strategies over the next five years.

  1. The Public Library has built strategies for enhancing partnerships with institutions of higher education and providing support to Indiana teachers. A priority in Indianapolis is to seamlessly transition students from high school and post-secondary education to higher age, higher demand jobs. The Public Library will identify opportunities to support schools in their digital journey by making Library materials available to students.
  2. The Public Library will be a strong participant in the movement to provide early learning experiences for Indianapolis’ youngest children by offering barrier-free access to Library materials and support the quality improvement efforts of local childcare providers.
  3. The Public Library will actively join community efforts to close educational achievement gaps at all levels by creating curriculum-based content for student Library visits and partnering with under performing schools to provide classroom support.
  4. The Public Library will enhance partnerships with institutions of higher education and provide support to Indiana teachers by providing Indianapolis teachers with the resource assistance they need.
  5. The Public Library will develop a community of readers by offering reading programs that promote reading pleasure and by maintain an excellent physical collection and offering a robust selection of digital materials.

IMCPL Strategic Plan – Neighborhoods

“Building communities through lifelong learning” is part of the core mission of The Indianapolis Public Library. They develop deep knowledge of Indianapolis residents and use that knowledge to transform their Libraries into practical and creative anchors for community life. The new strategic plan focuses on strengthening Indianapolis neighborhoods and businesses throughout our community. The Library will act on seven strategies developed for this purpose:

  1. Establish the Library as a civic focal point and resource center by creating opportunities for people to become informed and engaged on important issues.
  2. Adopt spaces and services that strengthen Indianapolis neighborhoods by making Library buildings flexible and responsive as service priorities change.
  3. Ensure that the community’s diverse population including immigrants and the economically and social disadvantaged have their special needs met through positive user experiences.
  4. Nurture healthy and vibrant communities by creating robust collaboration with neighborhood organizations, charge staff to fully participate in the life of the community and neighborhoods served and be a free Internet access point for Indianapolis neighbors.
  5. Support business development in Indianapolis by facilitating the success of small and community-based organizations.
  6. Deliver a rich and vibrant virtual Library presence by implementing continued website improvements and utilizing the Library website as a source of community awareness about Library programs and services.
  7. Develop increased audio-visual capacity in Library locations to highlight community activities and provide public access to conferencing and production equipment.
    Increase the number of neighborhood organizations hosting their meetings in Library branches and the number of elected officials who hold office hours or town hall meetings in our branches.
  8. Increase the number of neighborhood organizations hosting their meetings in Library branches and the number of elected officials who hold office hours or town hall meetings in our branches.

IMCPL Strategic Plan – Resilience

From the economic renewal potential of library development projects, to the provision of public space in a privatizing world, to targeting services for immigrants and the homeless, to crisis management during natural disasters, public libraries have shown themselves capable of contributing to community resiliency–that is, the ability of a community to respond effectively to stressors and challenging circumstances.

To play a role in community resiliency, libraries need to thoughtfully and intentionally develop the significant library-based services that will serve user needs. Intentionality is the imperative when libraries set out to play a significant role in the lives of their communities.

The new Strategic Plan of the Indianapolis Public Library is a community driven roadmap for contributing to the growth and prosperity of our city. The Public Library used a modified “quality of life model” for driving community sustainability as individuals and groups within our community helped develop the Library’s Strategic Plan. They have aligned Library strategy to the goals of other community organizations with a similar focus, such as workforce development and education. Strategies and accompanying actions were developed to optimize our value to the community.

The result is a five year plan that contributes to urban resiliency through strategic and sustainable geographic distribution of Library branches, creation of workforce readiness programs for the unemployed and underemployed, work to increase the literacy levels of all citizens including immigrants, provide trusted online government resources, connect residents to our sister government agencies on practical matters and help the economically and socially disadvantaged to navigate the information world.