The installation at White River State Park. Kimberly McNeelan

Large, artist-designed book-shares are popping up all over town.

Some people who try to install modest Little Free Libraries find themselves in spats—or legal kerfuffles—with site owners who accuse them of shrugging off zoning laws. But in Indianapolis, there are city-sanctioned, immersive installations that double as libraries and sculptures.

As part of the project, The Public Collection, local artists constructed elaborate shelves for books donated by the Indianapolis Public Library. The team then secured two-year contracts or permits with homeless shelters, parks, and other locations around town.

“There are no barriers when you walk up to one of these,” says the founder, Rachel Simon. There are no hurdlesno library card or sign-out sheet. “It’s coming to the people, instead of expecting people to come to the art.”

The installation at the Cultural Trail. (Eric Nordgulen)
The structure inside Eskenzi Health. (Kate Hudnall)
The setup inside Horizon House. (Stuart Hyatt & S+Ca)
Two installations within the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center. (Phil O'Malley)
Installations at Monument Circle.  (Brian McCutcheon)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    How Australia Conquered Guns, and Why America Can't

    Gun control advocates point to Australia for inspiration in ending gun violence. The Australian Ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey, thinks they should stop.

  2. Transportation

    The Geography of Car Deaths in America

    The U.S. is a nation divided not just by how people get around, but by how fast they drive.

  3. Transportation

    A Powerful Map Promises to Help Cities Keep Streets Free

    When a city’s maps don’t match with Uber or Lyft’s, getting precious trip data can be arduous. SharedStreets thinks it can fix that.

  4. Equity

    The Wakanda Reader

    Everything you wanted to know about Wakanda and urbanism, but were afraid to ask.

  5. Transportation

    The Attainable Wonders of Wakandan Transit

    Why can’t we have the vibranium-powered passenger trains of the Black Panther universe?