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. Passengers line up for a bullet train at a platform in Tokyo Station.
    Transportation

    The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations

    The nation’s famed mastery of rail travel has been aided by some subtle behavioral tricks.

  2. An interior view of operator Rafaela Vasquez moments before an Uber SUV hit a woman in Tempe, Arizona, in March 2018.
    Transportation

    Behind the Uber Self-Driving Car Crash: a Failure to Communicate

    The preliminary findings into a fatal crash in Tempe by the National Transportation Safety Board highlight the serious “handoff problem” in vehicle automation.

  3. POV

    What Surfers Understand About Gentrification

    When it comes to waves, newcomers are not wanted.

  4. Solutions

    Are ‘Pee Beds’ a Fix for Public Urination?

    In an effort to clean up popular sites of outdoor urination, researchers studied the mind of the man who pees in public. Their work could make stadiums and festival grounds smell a lot fresher in the future.

  5. Equity

    What Is Loitering, Really?

    America’s laws against lingering have roots in Medieval and Elizabethan England. Since 1342, the goal has always been to keep anyone “out of place” away.