In 2016 the OrthoIndy Foundation made a grant to the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation for an elevator installation at the East Washington Branch.
Indianapolis Public Library Foundation mission: To promote patronage and secure support for the advancement of programs, services and facilities of The Indianapolis Public Library to benefit a diverse learning community.
The grant supported the installation of an elevator as part of the East Washington Branch Library renovation. The East Washington Branch has been in operation since 1911 and was the only remaining Indianapolis Public Library location that was not handicap-accessible.
The branch’s entrance required users to walk up a flight of stairs to access the building, and the community meeting rooms were in a lower-level space only accessible by stairs. The branch renovation also included a new external door that leads to the elevator, which serves both the lower-level community rooms and the main level of the Library.
Community residents around the East Washington Branch can now more easily access the library. When the branch reopened, the first patrons to use the elevator were a mother with a baby stroller and man in a wheelchair. These patrons would not have had such easy access—if any access at all—without the elevator. Additionally, the new Oxford Senior Apartments are adjacent to the Library. The library is now more accessible to those residents.
With funds from OrthoIndy Foundation, the Library’s impact on the lives of patrons is immeasurable and will be felt for years to come. Access to books can improve children’s educational outcomes, access to computers and the internet can help adults in the neighborhood find new or better employment, information about health care and education can improve their quality of life.
The new elevator gives more patrons access to information in their neighborhood that can have far-reaching positive impact on their lives.
The OrthoIndy Foundation grant also helped the library purchase a former restaurant on the corner of East Washington and North Rural Street, next door to the branch. When the business closed and the building was put up for sale, the library wanted to purchase it for future expansion in an otherwise landlocked location.
While the library had secured bond funding to cover the costs of the Branch renovation, the building purchase was an unexpected expense. Through the gifts of OrthoIndy and other donors, funds were able to be reallocated to make the building purchase possible.
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