New library almost ready

August 30, 2007
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New LibraryIt's been quite an ordeal, but the Central Library expansion is almost complete. The Interim Central Library, which opened in Old City Hall after construction began on the expanded facility in 2002, is scheduled to close on Sept. 8. The Library says it will take 6 weeks to move more than 700,000 volumes. A grand re-opening is planned for the end of 2007. Was the new building worth the wait?
  • I'm sure some people are going to bash the boring architecture, but in this case, I think that was the point: add to the existing Cret Building without taking away from it. I think it's successful.
  • no
  • It's good that this chapter in the library's history is coming to a close (It's overdue!), and the library and the community, can -- and should -- move on.

    Let's make way for the opening fanfare, and enjoy it.
  • The new library building is a monstrosity.

    Why build major libraries in this day and age? This was a WASTE. If you want to reach the people - have more small neighborhood branch libaries, which can be LEASED.

    Fools gold this project was.
  • In a nutshell, no. Another opportunity for great, landmark design
    succumbs to mediocre office park architecture. I was excited about this
    project when announced but the realization turned out to be eighties bland.
  • The addition is nothing special, but I'm sure there will be amazing views of the skyline and memorial mall from the windows
  • NO! Furthermore, those resposnsible for this gigantic mistake need to be prosecuted. The effects of this financial calamity are already being felt. As for people in the Garfield Park area and other underserved sections of Indianapolis,..well, their entire facility could fit inside the north stairwell of the new library's underground parking lot. Did the Central Library need modernization? Yes. Was this the classic example of 'give an inch and take a mile'?---You can bet your dewey decimel system it was.
  • Yes. The glass and metal look great. I love the way crisp new design juxtaposes with all the older brick buildings in the area. As an extension of the original library building, it is a bit akward, but in an interesting way.

    It will function extremely well as a library. No more cramped aisles! It will be a great place to study, read, and interact with the community.

    I can't wait to use the underground parking garage and check out the interior!
  • I lived next door to the library for seven years in the Ambassador building that is now dwarfed by the new structure. Tenants had to leave because of the project. Some of us were slow about leaving because the $585 per month rent was a bargain. I am glad the library has been completed, but I question how many people outside of the downtown area will make the trip to use it. Yes, Castletoners, Eastsiders, Westsiders and Southsiders might make the initial trip for the grand (it will be grand, right?) re-opening, but I don't see them making a return trip. I currently live only 15 minutes away by car, but I only visit downtown about once a month. Carmelites and Fisherites probably will never see it, but then they have their own library systems, so perhaps they don't need to. And yes, I know this post was way too long.
  • surprise, not a fan. i do think the view from inside looking out will be grand, though. and i do like the pavillion/archway area. and i do like that they brought back the old sculpture...agree that it should have been somewhat minimalist to be able to highlight the existing cret building, but not in this way.
  • More terrible architecture for a city that thrives on it.
  • Overall, and just from the outside, I think it's a success in terms of the relationship of the two buildings. The view from the South at night should be stunning, and a good anchor for the end of the mall. It's just too bad that the mis-guided folks in the St. Joseph neighborhood were able to defeat the move of the apartment building, citing its historic status. (Why do people insist of calling anything that's relatively old a historic structure?) Other than this black eye, the new addition should continue to enhance the Cret building for decades.
  • Terrible architecture. Many of us in the Downtown neighborhoods were opposed to the design of the structure and its negative effects on the surrounding historic buildings, but, just like all other units of government the Library Board stormed ahead with the monstrosity and raised our real estate taxes. In two sucks!
  • It seems that any building that is old is automatically labeled as an historic structure. Amazing.
  • I have had the chance to look at the view from the South end of the mall and the new addition appears to embrace the older, smaller Cret building and at the same time, by reflecting the light and the sky and the buildings around it, become a part of it's environment. It's a quiet background and provides a definition to the North end of the mall. With the constraints placed on architects due to the site and the old apartment building, it's really remarkable.

    There are many people who, unlike most of us using this blog, don't have access to computers at home or at work, can't afford to buy books, need a quiet and safe place to read or study. Hi-Tech doesn't reach all of us. There are thousands of people living and working near the new building. Anyone who has been by the current library can see how much it is used.
  • What a white elephant. Putting aside the corrupt construction issues and incompetance etc., attaching this monstrosity to the old library is an atrocity.
    Kind of reminds me of the Soldier Field renovation in Chicago where they crammed a stupid looking modern structure inside the classic old shell.
  • Although I am pleased that Cory's blog is becoming more active, this place was a nie respite from the IndyStar Boards...WAS!

    At first I wasn't impressed with the design, but as outlined above, it looks great when compared to what it is supposed to accomplish!
  • The Abbey should do amazing business because of the new Library. Concerning Carmelite, Fisherites, etc. not coming down to enjoy the new Library: Their loss.

    I'm looking forward to visiting it when it opens.
  • The last time I looked at it, I thought it resembled an
    alien spaceship about to take off.
  • Yeah, I do wonder if this was worth the investment. While I think the preservation of old books is absolutely critical (though a library full of windows letting the sun in is a GREAT way to age books), I really think within the next 15-20 years, everything will be available digitally...thus the need for such a fancy, expensive structure will dwindle. Even though I'm working on a PhD, I hardly ever have to actually go to the library since all journals worth anything are available online. This of course isn't the case so much for people outside the physical/biological/social sciences, but like I said, that may well change even for them...

    For more support in favor of focusing our attention to more modern methods of making information available to the masses, look at the informatics library in Edinburgh, Scotland. The thing burnt to the ground in a club fire, but because of efforts in transferring printed material to computer, the incident wasn't nearly as tragic as it could have been.

    Does anyone have any statistics about people using the central library?
  • The Central Library holds 1/3 of the entire collection for the library system and hosts 1/4 of all visits. Prior to the addition it had 2,000 visitors a day and bacause of the expanded facilities it is anticipated that it will have as many as 4,000 visitors a day after the completion. That is 700,000-1.4 million visits a year.

    So is seems that has been and will be well-utilized.
    Look at the website and you will see that libraries are far more than book repositories in the communities they serve.
  • In the field of historic preservation, there is a belief that new additions to historic structures should be built in the design of the current year as to distinguish the two pieces of the structure. If you look at the building from this perspective you may be able to appreciate the new addition.

    Those who wonder why this building is historic have obviously not been inside the building or stood on the front steps.

    The city planner who originally designed Indianapolis had a beautiful vision. The symmetry of the city is/was amazing. If you have a chance, stand on the steps of the Central Library and look to the south towards the circle and you get a glimpse of the beauty of the original plan - and see how the library was originally incorporated into the community.

    I hope the same people who complain about the library also complain about the stadium. At least the library is open to all people, at no cost, to promote reading and the love of learning. Nothing of the sort can be said of the stadium.
  • Nice comment, JP. One correction: it sounds like you're thinking people are disputing the historic value of the Cret? But at issue is the historic value of the adjacent brick apartment building (or maybe I'm the one who is confused?!)

    The Cret is gorgeous indeed, and I think in massing and plan the addition does a fine job of remaining respectfully distant from it. I do like the Calatrava-esque arches in the connector/atrium piece. Not crazy about the polished steel panels on the outside, as they tend to too often blindingly reflect the sunlight when I'm driving past.

    As to the need for a library like this: as said above, not everyone has access at home or work to computers. As a democratic society we need to assure that access to the major means of communication are available to all (this includes IMO putting sidewalks on every single road, but that's another topic.)

    And the important part: buildings are containers of our shared culture and memory. Buildings, especially public buildings, stand for far more than their function. If we put a Butler building with a great air conditioning system on this site to warehouse the books, we would have saved some money, but what about cultural engagement?
  • JP, there are different ways of respecting an historic structure and its neighborhood with a modern addition. This one just isn't good. The addition has a corporate office park look to would look right at home in Park 100 or Ameriplex or Intech Park. Not inside the inner loop.
  • Some people are just born to bitch..... If they where giving all the gold in the world and millions of dollars to spend, all the sex they wanted. The best architecture to live it. Some of them would still complain...

    It’s the glass halve empty club....
  • CDC Guy, honestly, I'm not looking for a fight, just an honest discussion, as this project is important in this city: what is it about the library addition that you think just isn't good as an addition to a historic structure? I can see that if the landscape and hardscape around the building isn't done well (and I have no idea what is in store for it) that it could easily come across as a suburban office building. But I can also see it reading as an urban plaza. Can you elaborate on what else you don't like?
  • I have to admit that when I originally saw the architect's rendering of the new addition at Central, I felt it lacked visual continiuity with the Cret Building. I have since changed my perspective and have come to admire the masterfully controlled contrast between the traditional architecture exhibited in the Cret building and the sleek, modern curtain that provides a reflective backdrop to the historic facility.

    In addition, the transitioning area connecting the two spaces acts as a perfect bridge between past and present. The light, graceful columns that reach skyward are reminiscent of vaulted ceilings found in old world cathedrals. Unlike those dark and heavy structures of old, these columns do not abruptly end in a wood or plaster ceiling, but a breathtaking view of the heavans directly overhead. All thanks to the glass panels that will allow the space to be dramatically bathed in natural sunlight by day and cloaked by the star-filled sky at night!

    And remember, this stunning design must accommodate all of the state-of-the-art technology required to service a demanding and expanding urban community.

    I have changed my view of the new Central Library, indeed, and am confident that it will become one of downtown Indianapolis' gleaming landmarks, and an inspirational gathering place for citizens, schools and businesses alike!
  • I'm not an Indy resident, but I'm downtown 2-3 times a week anyway. I think the new library building is nice, and probably well justified given that the city's population has expanded so dramatically, downtown and elsewhere, since the original library was built. But I also see that Indy has been spending an incredible amount of money in the last few years for which the taxpayers of Marion County are on the hook. In addition to the library, in recent years you've had or are building the airport, Lucas Oil Stadium, 2 convention center expansions, the Conrad, the JW Marriott, Conseco Fieldhouse, the NCAA, and the list goes on.

    We Carmelites know a thing or two about Government Gone Wild. While each project may be able to stand on its own merits individually (although never with unanimous public support), one needs to step back and ask whether the totality of all the public spending is just too much. In other words, the library expansion itself may be a great thing, but in the context of all the other taxpayer-funded construction was it really the right time to build this?

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim