Library Undergoes Major Rennovations in Effort to Modernize

Edward Dong

The Carmel Clay Public Library (CCPL) announced plans for a complete renovation of the main library building at Fourth Avenue and Main Street, continuing a trend of construction in Carmel’s rapidly growing community.
Library director Bob Swanay said the current building was simply not meeting the needs of the community’s current population.

Swanay said, “There’s just been a lot of change and a lot has to do with technology. Some of the elements of this facility are still geared towards a ‘90s sensibility. We conceptually emptied out the building (and asked,) ‘How would we refill this library in 2020?’”

Swanay also said space was a growing constraint for the current facility.

“We have one sole programming room, and it maxes out at 100 people, and that’s not much for a city that’s hitting 100,000,” he said. “(After renovations,) we’re going from one programming room to a much larger program room that can hold up to 400 people.”

Uredoojo “Uredo” Agada, Teen Library Council member and junior, said that while library is valuable to students, it is often under-utilized.

“I do see (the CCPL is) always busy after school (with) students meeting friends, studying, meeting with a tutor and things like that,” she said. “(But) people don’t know all the library can offer, (like) various databases and online (media) checkout.”

New additions include outdoor space for concerts and movies, a mul- tistory parking structure with a sky- bridge to the library building at the site of the current parking lot and a drive- up book return. The Digital Media Lab, currently located on Main Street in the Arts and Design District, will relocate into the main building and expanded to include additional recording booths and a video recording room.

The renovations, however, may mean an interim end to CHS’s convenient “on-campus” access to the library while renovations occur, as the library plans its move to a temporary location. Swanay said, “A temporary location would be my preferred approach. We could get this project done much quicker, (and) making sure that (the library’s) a safe environment (during construction) for all of our patrons and staff is going to be tricky.”

Ryan Ringenberg, social studies teacher and tutor, also expressed concerns about the temporary location. “It’s not going to be as convenient for students and they’ll probably lose some traffic. They might have to slowly regain the numbers after the renovations,” Ringenberg said.

Overall, Swanay, Agada and Ringenberg said the improvements are worth the cost and will improve the library experience for CHS students and the Carmel community.

“I feel like it’s a pretty important place,” Agada said. “They’ve definitely done a lot of talks and surveys with the community, so I feel like the plan they have is going to be pretty good.”