Rising rent, other community needs could close Fountain Square library

(WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Fountain Square Library, a staple in the historic neighborhood, may be on the move.

The Indianapolis Public Library doesn’t have any other choice but to move due to increasing prices, less money coming in, and the need to service communities that don’t have proper access to a library.

The decades-old library sits in the heart of Fountain Square. It’s a place members of the community have come to love.

“I bring the kids to read books and to work on the computer and do their ABC’s and stuff like that,” said Fountain Square neighbor Stephanie Billings Jones.

Parents can walk their children to weekly story time and computers with no wait times, along with easy access to books and movies, which is what keeps locals coming back.

“It’s just quaint. It’s not a big library or anything like that, but it gives you what you really, basically need, ya know,” said Fountain Square neighbor Earl Perry.

Indy PL Spokeswoman Jackie Nytes headed the foundation that put the library there in Fountain Square 20 years ago.

She understands its draw, but with rising rent prices and other communities in need, she says it’s time for a change.

“It’s hard enough for us to pay rent anywhere, but over time the rents in Fountain Square are going up because the neighborhood is more successful,” Nytes said.

Indy PL has a map that shows gray circles, which indicate areas that are well served by their libraries. Many of the gray circles in the center of Indy PL’s coverage overlap. Nytes says the best way to stay within the library’s shrinking budget and service more people would be to close The Flanner House and Fountain Square branches and move their resources to neighborhoods with a greater need.

“Fountain Square now has many assets and if we had no financial limitations, I would love to stay there and be part of that. But, I also know as rents have risen in Fountain Square because Fountain Square is now more in demand, we can’t afford to stay there.  And that’s a dilemma for us,” Nytes said.

Indy PL gets its funding from property taxes. With recent caps, the library will be pulling in $6 million fewer dollars this year.

Still, neighbors want to keep it.

Even a Facebook page supporting its preservation has formed.

“Fountain Square is a cultural center, right? And so a library not to be here – it just seems kind of weird,” said Fountain Square neighbor Tonya Beeler.  “We’re just people that walk to the library and don’t want to see it close.”

“You mess with things that people really count on and it creates a great amount of anxiety.  So, it would be very good if we could keep the branch here,” said Fountain Square neighbor and Historical Society Director Robert Carey.

This is a plan four to five years out. Nytes says it’s important to start the discussion early to let neighbors come to terms with the idea or to give ideas on how the library could maybe be saved.

Indy PL will be holding town forums through March 4th. Click here for a list of town forums.

Click here to look at Indy PL’s strategic plan.

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