Today is the big day. Renovation of the Indianapolis Central Library is complete and it officially opens with ceremonies at 1:00 this afternoon. The project was delayed by shoddy workmanship and cost overruns so it's nice to see it finally wrap up. Everything I've seen and read about the new facility makes it sound fantastic; I truly hope they're able to deliver on their goal of doubling their pre-renovation rate of roughly 2,000 patrons per day.
It's great that Indianapolis will now have such an outstanding library to offer the community. Demographics and transportation issues could pose challenges though. Like many cities these days, Indianapolis continues to see more and more residents leave the urban setting for one of the surrounding communities. Unlike other cities though, Indianapolis doesn't offer much in the way of public transportation to encourage suburbanites to come back and spend some time in the city. To be fair, the highway system here is excellent and most locals would probably rather drive their own car than ride a bus/train. Nevertheless, a highly unscientific poll I conducted shows that several of my friends and neighbors only head downtown 2-4 times a year, max. I'm not sure that a new library is going to influence that rate. (Yes, I realize there are exceptions to this...please don't pile on and tell me how you're down there twice a day!)
The local paper has done a good job covering the grand opening. You'll find an in-depth article here and a less than inspiring video here; seriously, the video was disappointing. The paper also offered an editorial today with this headline: New chapter opens with fanfare and concern. It's a pretty balanced look at the whole initiative, IMHO.