(INDIANAPOLIS) – The Indianapolis Public Library has broken ground for a new eastside branch.
Planning for the new Glendale branch has been underway since 2020, when the library purchased the site of the former John Strange Elementary School. The new branch will replace the current one at Glendale Mall, a mile to the west.
The mall branch opened in 2000, and was hailed as an innovative way to make the library more accessible to its patrons. Branch director Judy Gray says as shopping has moved online, malls are no longer the community gathering place they were two decades ago — and the library’s upper-level location actually hinders access for older patrons who have to take the elevator up from the parking lot.
Gray says the new location will make Glendale a true neighborhood library again when it opens next summer. The library spent part of the pandemic hosting virtual town meetings to hear from patrons about what services they wanted to see. The new branch will incorporate several of those suggestions, including a 100-person community room and additional computers and small study rooms.
In 2025, the library will gain direct walking and biking access with the extension of the Nickel Plate Trail.
The Washington Township Schools closed John Strange in 2019 after more than 40 years. That school was actually the second John Strange Elementary. Five teachers and students from when the second building opened in the mid-70s attended the groundbreaking to open a time capsule placed there. The metal box revealed a 1977 edition of the Indianapolis Star, U-S and Indiana flags, a Bicentennial quarter, the floor plan of the new school, and a sheet with photos of the staff.