Library Lift: Carmel Clay Public Library unfolds three-part plan to renovate, update library

Angela Li

Bob Swanay, Director of the Carmel Clay Public Library (CCPL), said the CCPL unveiled a vision to the public in April that encompasses three primary elements of the library including branch services of the library in other areas of Carmel, re-imagination of the current CCPL space, and a potential expansion.

“The piece of that vision that we’re closest to moving on is the branch services piece. We have acquired a piece of property in the Village of West Clay and our intention is to do some light renovation and outfit it to operate as a library branch hopefully by the early side of next year,” Swanay said.

Swanay said, as part of the visioning project, the library hopes to expand the teen area as well as social spaces in general, including program rooms and the overall seating capacity, by reconfiguring the space they currently have and potentially adding unconventional furniture configurations aside from the traditional tables, chairs, and study rooms.

“People use the library differently now than they did when (the CCPL) opened in 1999. Technology is a big factor in that, and just part of the way that we relate to each other; I think the social space is more important in libraries now than we thought of 20 years ago, so that’s one emphasis that we would like to increase,” Swanay said. “And, of course, the teen area we currently have is great, but we would like to have a bigger area. We’re beside Carmel High School; we have a lot of high school teens in the library and we think that we could take it to the next level with our teen area if we re-imagined our space.”

Kalika Raje, Teen Library Council President for Wednesday night and sophomore, said she is looking forward to the proposed changes for the library and hopes more CHS students take advantage of the library as a result of the visioning project.

“I think the (visioning project) will benefit the community and especially CHS students by allowing teenagers in particular to enjoy and appreciate reading more and enjoy the library as a whole more because I know for a lot of people it’s a place of sanctuary and meeting other people,” Raje said. “I think that’s something that would be really cool to spread through this expansion project because the library provides a safe haven and another world to people that they access through books and reading and I think that’s something that can be really beneficial to our community.”