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Commitment to Sustainability

At The Indianapolis Public Library, our vision is to be at the center of knowledge, community life, and innovation to the neighborhoods we serve. But our commitment to our community extends beyond our collection of books and materials. We have a respect for sustainability and resilience throughout our operation. From the design of our physical buildings to proactive energy conservation and robust recycling initiatives, we strive to not just enrich the minds of our patrons—but enrich a sustainable environment for all. Here are some sustainability initiatives we are proud of at The Indianapolis Public Library:

2024 Goals

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory
In 2024, The Library will complete a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory to identify and measure our GHG emissions. The Library will collect data and set a GHG emission reduction target in order to track and report progress.

Energy Use Intensity Reduction Goal
In 2023, we achieved a 3.7% reduction in Energy Use Intensity (kBTU/sq. ft.) compared to 2022. Our 2024 goal is to achieve an additional 3% reduction.

Reusable Canvas Bags for Library Express Deliveries
The Library received Foundation funding for 2024 to order reusable canvas bags for our Library Express service to cut down on single use bag waste. Library Express delivers materials to borrowers who are unable to visit their local Library branches due to physical/medical limitations.

EV Stations

Electric Vehicle (EV) Stations make available charging equipment that connects an electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrids to a source of electricity to recharge. You can find EV Stations at the following Library locations:

Solar Designs

  • Solar panels at the new Glendale location will provide power for a substantial portion of the building’s energy needs and the building will include other energy-efficient systems.
  • Fort Ben was designed with a roof-top solar photovoltaic system.
  • West Perry was designed to utilize solar panels to generate 75% of the annual electricity needs for the building.
  • Our Bookmobiles are designed with solar panels to help recharge the batteries used to run the vehicles' interior lighting and electronics.

Recycling & Preservation Initiatives

Glendale Preserving Natural Resources & Green Space
The new Glendale branch is built on the 5.5-acre site of the former John Strange Elementary School. The property includes established heritage trees that were preserved and open green space, which was retained.

Michigan Road Repurposing Natural Resources
When we set out to build Michigan Road, we wanted to preserve as many of the trees as we could from the land. Watch how Indy Urban Hardwood helped make our vision a reality.

Indy Library Store
Indy Library Store receives materials that are discarded by the Indianapolis Public Library and generous donors in our community to stock regularly scheduled book sales. Unsold materials are responsibly recycled. See Indy Library Store's book sale schedule.

Community Programs

  • Seed Library
    The Seed Library is a service that allows patrons to check out and take home a large variety of free vegetable, herb, and flower seeds, at all locations from Mid-March through September.
  • LIghts Out Indy
    Lights Out Indy is an initiative of the Amos Butler Audobon Society of Central Indiana (ABAS). ABAS works with building managers in the city of Indianapolis to prevent bird deaths and save energy by promoting bird-safe buildings and reduce nighttime lighting. Learn more about Lights Out Indy.

Awards and Recognitions

U.S. Green Building Council Award for Sustainable Design
The West Perry Branch was honored with the 2023 Green Building of the Year Award in the LEED for Building Design and Construction category by the U.S. Green Building Council's East North Central Region. This prestigious award recognizes The Library's commitment to sustainable design.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certifications
LEED is a green building rating system that provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings and is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.