The Fort Ben Branch of The Indianapolis Public Library, located at 9330 East 56th Street, will open to the public on Saturday, August 19 at 10 a.m. The 22,000-square-foot branch is projected to welcome 180,000 – 200,000 patron visits annually, filling a service gap between the Lawrence Branch on the northeast side and the Warren Branch on the far east side.
A grand opening celebration will kick off at 10 a.m. with speeches and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The celebration will continue until 4:30 p.m. with cake, refreshments, live music from Bruce Valance and the Top Groove Alliance band, face painting with Cinamon the Clown, live animal meet and greets with Silly Safaris, a poetry reading by the Poet’s Laureate group with Arts for Lawrence, and a performance by Ballet Folklorico Mosaicos. Early attendees will enjoy an outdoor performance by Circle City Sidewalk Stompers at 9:30 a.m.
"I am thrilled to extend a warm welcome to the community as we unveil this remarkable new space," said Shelby Peak, branch manager for Fort Ben. “After much anticipation, this branch has finally come to fruition. We are creating an inclusive space, a judgment-free zone. I wholeheartedly believe it will become an enduring symbol of our community — a cherished institution that fills us with pride."
The Fort Ben Branch is located in an area being developed by the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority. The Library was envisioned as part of a redevelopment plan since the land was decommissioned and transitioned from the U.S. military to the City of Indianapolis in the 1990s. Sponsored by the Indy Autism Project and Easterseals Crossroads, The Fort Ben Branch is the first library branch in the state of Indiana on the path to receiving international accreditation for autism through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).
"I take immense pride in Fort Ben's achievement of receiving international accreditation for autism, as it reinforces our commitment to promoting literacy, lifelong learning, and fostering meaningful connections that actively support the pursuit of knowledge,” said Gregory Hill, the CEO of the Indianapolis Public Library. “We strive to ensure that every member of the Indianapolis community feels truly welcome when they visit our branch. It is of utmost importance to us that our services, programs, and collections are accessible to all.”
The $14.3 million project was funded by bonds approved by the Indianapolis City-County Council and assessed without any increase in IndyPL’s current debt service tax rate.
Construction manager The Skillman/Davis Team and architect Ratio Architects are behind this project.