Indianapolis and the big blue wall.

So. Last week I was at home in Indy for a week of vacation.  And what a vacation it turned out to be! But random stressors aside, I ended up seeing quite a few random and completely unexpected things.  I mean, who ever thought to see fried Pepsi?  How do you even fry a liquid?  Yes it is the State Fair and they do fry up a variety of weird things, but really?  And what about the doe and her faun leisurely eating in the green triangle between on ramp and highway?  Usually you just see the unfortunate aftermath.  However, the most unexpected thing I saw was the main branch of the IMCPL.

you must understand, the main library branch of downtown Indy has always been awesome.  The original building was from a time when they actually planned things out adequately for use, so it was both functional and beautiful.  Its later additions, while not as pretty, still allowed for an overactive imagination to climb up floor-to-ceiling shelves and really delve into hidden alcove of knowledge.  It was an immense treasure-trove for me growing up, and the quiet respect I had in those places will serve as a marker for my interpretation of future libraries.

However, the entire infrastructure was dated, and the library still needed more space for more books.  So they tacked on a giant modern building that was supposed to act as a frame for the old cool building and at the same time have all the advances of modern preservation and storage technology.  Everyone was unhappy, including me.  I didn’t want a giant glassy mass distracting from my awesome library.  But that’s what we got.

While I was home this time I was finally able to see the thing up close and personal, and there were several pleasant surprises.  I could say things here about the better, safer spaces for children, or the person-high shelving, or the updated HVAC that will keep books younger longer, or the various meeting rooms and performance venues or exhibit spaces now at the library.  But these are all pretty boring mundane things, so i will focus on the things that really surprised and pleased me.

3) Book Carts/Baskets – for the true speed-reader

Yes, we’ve moved beyond the day and age where you actually have to use your hands to hold your book selections.  For those who read more than they can hold onto with two hands, we provide free plastic ‘shopping’ baskets.  For those who read more than they can physically lift, there are also rolling carts that hold two baskets.  Also good for entertaining small children.

2) Pod chairs – a la Mork

No longer do you simply sit or even recline in a chair.  Now you can stuff yourself into a noise-cancelling pod and truly be secluded from the outside world.  And, if you’re in the mood, you can spin these things around for a little ride.  Or you can attempt to just lean way out without falling out – that could be enough of a ride right there.

Warning: pods really aren’t meant to fit two.  Extended two-person sitting may cause numbness.

1) And, the number one Greatness of the new library addition:  The Big Blue Wall (Shelly included only for reference)

Do I know why the top floor is twice as tall as any other floor?  Not really.  Do I know why the walls are painted an especially vivid blue color?  Excessively not.  But I do know it’s cool.  So cool, it makes me want to prance.  So cool, people set up photo shoots in odd costumes and tons of makeup in front of it.  And that’s pretty cool.  Go library.