I was very excited to take the short trip down from Indianapolis to the Greenwood Public Library to congratulate them on receiving the 2009 Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce Pride and Progress Award. This award is presented to a Greenwood business that reflects a positive, professional image, provides excellent customer service, is involved in community projects, promotes positive community values and provides an outstanding physical appearance.
Margaret Hamilton began as Director of the Greenwood Public Library 20 years ago. Then, it was just a single small building with a staff of 12 – 15 people. Just as the community has changed and grown, so has their Library. Now the Library is a spacious 51,000 square feet facility with 55 staff members. As Margaret walked me through the Greenwood Public Library it was obvious that all the staff take great pride in the services they provide and their role in the community. Although Greenwood is part of the Indianapolis suburban area, it appears to be a small town in heart. During my afternoon visit, Margaret stopped to talk to many familiar patrons while introducing me to several staff members.
While the atmosphere at the Library may feel small town, the building itself is anything but that. The state-of-the-art building features a spacious and inviting 2nd floor with many windows providing natural light. It contains the adult book collection with a variety of displays, including artwork from the Southside Art League. Each month a different staff member creates the main book display at the top of the stairs from the first floor. This month was a colorful and fun “chicklit” display.
The 2nd floor also includes the public service computers, a computer lab for free computer classes, and the Young Adult room, which provides all types of materials and programs for teens. This room is especially important since the Library is next to the Greenwood Middle School and receives dozens of daily after-school visitors. In addition to the Young Adult Room, teens also meet to talk and do homework at The Bookmark Café. As for teen programming, the Library had the 2nd Annual Bahumbug Valentine’s Day program where dozens of young adults participated in several activities, including creating duct tape roses for family and friends.
When you travel down the open stairs to the first floor, you will find the large Children’s Room. The 5500 square-foot room is extremely colorful, decorated with stuffed animals, posters, games, and all types of art. The enormous purple Greenwood Public Library train engine is an inviting place to climb and play. Santa comes to the Library every year during the Thanksgiving weekend to use the purple train for photos with the children. The Library’s children’s programming includes Books and Babies, Little Tykes, Preschool Story Time, a Summer Reading program, Writing Club, Boys Adventure Club, Edible Poetry, Hoosier Book Club and many more.
One of the most important children’s programs is Furry Friends. A trained therapy dog will listen to children that are having a difficult time learning to read. As a non-talking and non-judgmental listener, the dog helps children learn to enjoy reading out loud. I talked to a mother about this program as her 3rd grade child was reading to the dog. She said that her daughter had gone from a very poor reader to an excellent reader in a short amount of time. Her daughter now looks forward to visiting the Library every week to read to the dog.
Greenwood Community Library is very much a community center in addition to a library. Volunteers are available to help senior citizens and lower income individuals with their tax forms. Legal aids are on hand to help patrons with various matters twice a month. Need gardening advise? You will find a display that demonstrates how to create a vegetable garden with limited ground, time and money.
Additionally, the Library has a cookout in their parking lot from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every Saturday during the summer. With the Library located next to a large park and the Greenwood Farmer’s Market, Greenwood families come in droves each Saturday to recreate, eat lunch and buy fresh produce.
Like many of Indiana’s top libraries, the Greenwood Public Library has succeeded at growing with their town and providing the services that the residents need and desire for a rich quality of life. They are certainly worthy of the recognition and praise they receive as a world-class public library.
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