Carmel Clay Public Library on track for fall reopening after major renovations


It’s hard for those passing by the Carmel Clay Public Library to miss the major exterior renovations taking place, but what’s less obvious from Main Street are the massive changes taking place inside as well. 

The library remains on track to reopen its main campus at Main Street and Richland Avenue this fall after completing $40 million in renovations that include a new parking garage, expanded program space, relocating the Digital Media Lab to the building and many other improvements. 

CCPL Director Bob Swanay presented an update on the project to the Carmel City Council on Feb. 7. 

“We’re touching every aspect of the library,” Swanay said. “We’re making every single area of the library a better version than what it was, and that’s the goal in a project like this.” 

When the library reopens, visitors will notice interior changes as soon as they step inside. A large staircase has been added near the main entrance, making it easier for patrons to quickly access collections on the first or second floor. It will also provide a quick connection between the first floor and a new entry on the second level that connects to the parking garage. 

The lobby and atrium will be expanded to provide a more “open feel” and natural lighting, Swanay said. 

“They’ve opened it up in a way that it’s going to feel like a completely different building,” he said. 

On the first floor near Main Street will be a Java House coffee shop and the Digital Media Lab, which will relocate from its current space at 23 E. Main Street. 

The first floor will also house the youth services area, which will remain in its previous location but include updated signage, a mural by artist Bryan Ballinger and new play stations. The teen area will be five to six times larger than its previous space, Swanay said, and will have dedicated study rooms and places to gather and a mural designed by a local teen. 

The second floor will be home to much of the library’s book and audiobook collections. It will include a reading area on the northwest corner with expansive views of the surrounding area, along with a rooftop garden. 

Other additions will be a drive-up book return and holds pickup lockers that can be accessed outside of normal library hours. New outdoor signage is also planned. 

The library has been operating out of a temporary location since September 2020 at 2140 E 116th St. in the former Marsh supermarket space. 

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Pandemic closes branch to in-person visits 

While the Carmel Clay Public Library’s main campus remains open for in-person visits at its temporary location in Merchants’ Square, the Joyce Winner West Branch has been closed for in-person visits since early January amid the omicron COVID-19 surge. 

CCPR Communications Director Christy Walker said the smaller footprint of the west branch makes social distancing more difficult than at the main branch, which is why the west branch closes when the county’s COVID-19 advisory level is at its highest. 

With COVID-19 cases rapidly declining, Walker said she is confident the west branch will reopen for in-person visits soon.

During the closure, curbside holds pickup remains available at the west branch from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.