Hamilton East Public Library creates menu of field trip experiences


Library tours have always been offered at Hamilton East Public Library, but an uptick in requests for something unique by groups the past few years led the library to offer a new structure for visits.

“In order to provide the best experience possible, we decided to imagine a menu of experiences for these groups to choose from when visiting us for a field trip,” said Kelsey Sweet, director of marketing and communications at HEPL. “Through this structured service, students and groups will get a chance to experience the library at a more in-depth level beyond what you would get in a basic tour.”

There are now two options available to students and groups visiting HEPL: Youth Dept. or Ignite Studio.

“Ignite Studio welcomes visitors of all ages on a daily basis and encourages family learning experiences where parents take the lead,” Sweet said. “The services in Ignite are primarily focused on older school-aged kids, teens and adults, which is why we’ve tailored our field trip activities to grades four and up. Field trips to Ignite will encourage students to tinker and create at their own pace in an art or STEAM-focused activity.”

Youth Dept. activities range from training as an honorary librarian, scavenger hunts, sensory play exploration and more.

“Students will walk away with a greater understanding of what the library is and what we offer, including services that break the traditional mold, like our Ignite Studio,” Sweet said. “Activities connect to state education standards that teachers are already incorporating in their classrooms. We hope students have a fun, interactive experience that engages with those standards outside of the school building.”

Field trips are also offered to homeschool families and co-ops.

“Homeschool families are an essential part of our community and fantastic library users,” Sweet said. “We wanted to make sure that their co-ops received the same experience. Homeschool groups are unique in that many different ages learn together at the same time. When they sign up for a field trip, we will work with them 1-on-1 to customize their experience to best fit their needs.”

In 2022, HEPL hosted five school visits, with 317 students.

“This was the first time many of the students had visited our library,” Sweet said. “Creating this service will provide an answer to this interest and is a promising opportunity to fulfill our vision as a connected library in a connected community.”

HEPL hosted a Field Trip Preview Day Jan. 26, when community leaders and media specialists from HSE Schools and Noblesville Schools experienced field trip activities designed around Indiana’s Academic Standards.

To learn more about field trip opportunities, visit hepl.lib.in.us/field-trips/.