After 20 years of planning, the new Fort Ben Branch of the Indiana Public Library had a grand-opening celebration Aug. 19 at the branch, 9330 East 56 St., in Lawrence.
Shelby Peak, manager of the IPL Fort Ben branch, said the approximately $14 million library will bridge a service gap between the Lawrence and Warren IPL branches.
“We’re fulfilling a big service need here in the city,” Peak said. “This is a very important service branch that people have wanted here for a very long time.”
The approximately 22,000-square-foot library’s amenities include study rooms, a conference room and a children’s play area. Computers have internet access, and some have child-safety features. Its book selection appeals to various ages, cultures and subjects.
At the grand opening, Lawrence resident Sharon Reese said the new library is an important addition to the community.
“If people want to learn, the possibilities of how the library could be used are endless,” Reese said.
Those possibilities include the Heritage Exhibit. It’s one of the library’s signature features, according to Peak.
“It’s a nice educational piece for those that might not know a lot about the impact Fort Harrison had on the community when it was active,” Peak said.
The library is also the first in Indiana to become a certified autism center, according to Peak.
“Our staff have received specialized training through the international Board of Credentialing and Continuing Academic Education Standards,” Peak said.
The library’s comfort foom is available for nursing parents or patrons with sensory needs who need a private, quiet area to decompress. The library will also provide programming and activities planned to be sensory-inclusive.
For more, visit indypl.org/locations/fort-ben.