Carmel library sets circulation record, works to overhaul website

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After a record-breaking year, the Carmel Clay Public Library continues to prepare for major renovations to help it keep up with demand.

Library patrons circulated approximately 2.2 million items in 2019, the highest number in the library’s history, according to CCPL Director Bob Swanay.

“Before coming to Carmel, I hadn’t seen anything like it for a community this size. It really speaks to the love the community has for the library,” Swanay said Feb. 17 during his annual report to the Carmel city council.

To continue meeting the needs of a growing community, CCPL is preparing to begin construction later this year on a $40 million project to expand its main library campus at 55 4th Ave. SE. Improvements include increasing space for programs and teen activities, adding a parking garage and drive-up item return, creating outdoor space for events, moving the Digital Media Lab to the main campus and reorienting the front entrance to face Main Street.

Swanay said the library continues to search for a temporary location during construction. This would enhance patron safety and allow the project to be completed more quickly, he said.

At the same time, the library is upgrading its online presence. A new website and logo is expected to launch later this year.

“It’s not just our physical spaces,” Swanay said. “We’re trying to rethink everything that we’re doing.”

Swanay said the Joyce Winner West Branch, which opened Jan. 6, had a strong first month with 8,511 visits and 9,606 items in circulation. He said patrons dropped off nearly 2,000 items to be couriered to the main campus on the branch’s first day in business.

After the main campus renovations are complete, Swanay said the library will likely continue expansion by opening new locations.

“Future branches and satellites might be the key to growth in future years,” he said.

2019 BY THE NUMBERS

  • 584,164 library visits
  • 10,482 Digital Media Lab visits
  • 12,658 mobile library visits
  • 909 teen volunteers
  • 1,869 programs offered
  • 72,609 program attendees



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