IndyPL's Center for Black Literature and Culture Opens October 21!

IndyPL's Center for Black Literature and Culture Opens October 21!

A new and unique space for Indianapolis that celebrates the rich heritage of those with African roots will be unveiled during the grand opening of the Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC) on Saturday, October 21 from noon to 3 p.m. at Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair Street. The entire community is invited to attend.

Made possible by Lilly Endowment Inc. through a $1.3 million grant to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, the 3,990-square-foot Center, located in Central Library's R.B. Annis West Reading Room, will be a focal point for exploring the black experience in Indianapolis and beyond. Interactive displays, engaging programming and a large collection of books and materials will showcase those who have transformed the world through their courage, talents and activism. Visitors can learn about such Hoosier black heroes as writer Mari Evans, musicians Wes Montgomery and Kenneth "Baby Face" Edmonds, journalist Amos Brown, actress Vivica A. Fox and basketball star Oscar Robertson. New program and display themes will be added regularly.

The Center also will support the work of the Library's long-standing African American History Committee, which plans major cultural programming at the Library. "The goal for the Center is to shine a light on the brilliant works of black icons who have influenced not only American but world culture, especially those with Indiana roots," said Nichelle M. Hayes, Special Collections Librarian who will manage the Center. "The Center will feature a robust collection of 10,000 volumes and an array of dynamic programs, ranging from author talks to special exhibits, to inspire individuals of all ages."

concept Canvas Mural

The space, conceived by the experiential design firm of RLR Associates Inc. of Indianapolis, creates a "third place" away from home or work to gather and explore ideas leading to a greater awareness of black culture and heritage. The CBLC's design, construction, artworks and interpretative elements will be available to the general public free of charge when visiting Central Library.

"This will add an entirely new dimension of Library service to the community," said IndyPL CEO Jackie Nytes. "Thanks to Lilly Endowment, the Center will provide a unique learning and entertainment experience that all in Indianapolis can benefit from." Following opening ceremonies at 12 noon, the grand opening event will feature a keynote address and book signing by journalist and political commentator Roland Martin at 12:30 p.m.

For more information about the CBLC and grand opening event, call 317-275-4100 or visit