Phase II Features Completed at the "Green Library in the Park"

October 19, 2012

New environmental and landscaping additions recently completed at the Garfield Park Branch of The Indianapolis Public Library will enhance its role as the "Green Library in the Park," leading to greater public education opportunities and more efficient library operations.

Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

President of the Friends of Garfield Park and Master Gardener Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp visits the new rain garden on the grounds of the Garfield Park Branch

The 6,400-square-foot Garfield Park Branch, located at 2502 Shelby Street, sits adjacent to and is named after the oldest and one of the most revered parks in Indianapolis. Following a four-month renovation in 2011, the branch reopened as a showcase of modernized services and environmental innovation that focuses on energy and resource conservation. Features in place following the renovation include a storytelling garden, rain barrels, butterfly and wild bird garden with native plants, two electric vehicle charging stations, and an attractive sculptural bicycle rack

Phase II features include:

Rain Garden – Features native plantings nourished by overflow rainfall collected in rain barrels along with runoff from surrounding areas which is transported through irrigation systems to support the local ecosystem and its wildlife.

Garfield Park Conservatory Walkway – A porous walkway from the library's grounds to the Conservatory leads visitors through adjoining nature areas and provides easy access to each institution, enhancing a partnership for shared programs and services.

New Library Entrance Walkway – Visitors can access the library from the parking lot along a scenic walkway that leads them through the beautiful storytelling garden and new rain garden.

Plant and Donor Identification Signage – Attractive signage describes approximately 25 native plant varieties and their common and scientific classification names. Also, community donors are recognized for their valued contribution to the project.

Within the Garfield Park Branch itself, a number of energy-saving installations have proven effective in reducing operational costs for the Library. Electricity costs have been reduced by 38% from their 2009-2010 averages (prior to the branch's closure in 2011 for renovation), and natural gas costs have been reduced by 57%. Installations include a new condensing type boiler, computerized building controls, retrofit fluorescent fixtures, occupancy sensors, roof dormer for natural daylight, low-flow faucets, and energy star appliances.

Future plans at the Garfield Park Branch include installation of a solar water heater and photovoltaic cells, as well as an enclosure to an improved bus stop.

Phase II improvements in the amount of $75,900 were made possible through the generous support of Friends of the Library, The Friends of Garfield Park, Inc., United Water and Deborah and Michael Williams. The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc., AT&T, ERMCO, Inc., Indiana State Association of Power Engineers, Indianapolis Parks Foundation, Indianapolis Power & Light Company, Indy Parks & Recreation, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Target and Worm's Way contributed to earlier phases of the project.

More information about the Garfield Park Branch and Green Library in the Park project is available at or via Facebook.