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The Public Collection: Some of these little libraries are moving, and at least one new one is coming next year.

November 23, 2016 by Reader's Connection

I love the Public Collection. Zipping around from collection to collection, dropping books off and picking some up, I feel like a bee spreading pollen around Indy.



If you haven’t heard about the Public Collection, it is are a series of artworks/libraries around Indianapolis–“a public art and literacy project consisting of artist-designed book share stations, developed to increase access to books and art. ” You can take books out (no library card required) and return them when you can–to a different Public Collection location, if you like.

When I blogged about them in August, I had visited five of them; and now I’ve buzzed around eight out of the nine.

The address given for the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center is 1920 West Morris Street. And it’s there, just west of the library’s West Indianapolis Branch. But don’t be dismayed when you can’t get in the front door.


The public entrance is off the parking lot west of the building.1998_long
The address over that door is 1998.1998close_up_yeah

Once inside, as advertised, is Phil O’Malley’s The Answer Is in the Question.

Or not exactly as advertised. In earlier photographs, there used to be two question marks in the lobby. But when I asked at the Public Collection website, they assured me that the other question mark had been relocated within the Mary Rigg Center to accommodate their programming needs. So I should have puttered around some more in the building.

nov2016-front-cover-360Having pollinated and picked up some pollen, I hit the road. Waiting on South Belmont Avenue for a train to pass, I read three poems by Kaveh Akbar, from the November issue of Poetry Magazine. They helped with my levitation and all-around attitude. My stinger never scraped the blacktop, and I didn’t scare the guy on his bike.

My Kingdom for a Murmur of Fanfare


Despite My Efforts Even My Prayers Have Turned into Threats

Words to live by:



I had never visited the Eskanazi Health Center (720 Eskenazi Avenue) before, and I wandered a bit before finding Katie Hudnall’s Nautilus. The women who worked at Eskanazi and who gave me directions could not have been kinder. A sign in one hallway asked Do you need an interpreter? and for me the answer is always Yes.

I think Katie’s sea-going artwork with its cargo of books is on the first floor of the Fifth Third Bank Building–which is part of Eskenazi–though I’ve read that it’s in another building. If you really need compass bearings, it’s across the hall from a Starbucks.

I was amused by the afuntional button (1) on Nautilus, but I see now that there’s (2) a light bulb in there, and maybe when I pushed the button, I was too obtuse to see the light going on. I clearly needed a cup of something from Starbucks.


Having pollinated, I buzzed on to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Tom Torluemke’s Cool Books, Food for Thought and LaShawnda Crowe Storm’s Play Station, which had been at the IMA, had disappeared from the Public Collection website; and I was distressed to see that they had indeed been removed.

pc_play2BUT when I asked at the Public Collection website, I learned that these two installations have been relocated. PlayStation will now reside at the Marion County Juvenile Court, and Cool Books, Food for Thought will now reside at the Hawthorne Community Center. (Tom Torluemke is back on the website.)




In fact, if I look again at the map at the top of this page, I see there’s a star for the Hawthorne Community Center, at 2440 West Ohio Street.




My last stop on this flight was at the corner of Market & Alabama, the southeast corner of the City Market. I didn’t do any pollinating at Brose Partington’s Harvesting Knowledge; but even I, incapable of appreciating the light bulb in Katie Hudnall’s Nautilus, got a kick out of the way the book shelves roll around in Partington’s artwork. That orange gear-handle thing really works.

I SHALL CLOSE WITH AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: According to letter that went out in August, a new collection will appear at Tarkington Park (45 West 40th Street) sometime in 2017.


Hey, there’s going to be a new café and a water park and all kinds of stuff that isn’t in this picture of Tarkington Park. Click the bold-type “Tarkington Park” above to learn more about what’s coming.

I love it. Tarkington Park is only a few blocks from where I live. I’m retiring at the end of November, and I’m sure I’ll be spending time at my neighborhood library, the College Avenue Branch; but I can buzz over to Tarkington Park now and then to check out the new collection–the artwork and the books–and grab a bite at the coming café.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The cover art on the November issue of Poetry is by Jessie Mott: “Pegasus.” The winged horse, in various forms, has graced many covers of the magazine.



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