Garfield Park Branch - Green Library in the Park


The Indianapolis Public Library engaged Mader design to develop some ideas for the site of the Shelby Street Branch that was undergoing its first significant remodel in over 50 years. The site had not been updated since the building was originally constructed. Through a master planning effort, and several concepts, we worked with library staff and the community to develop a plan for the “Green Library in the Park” for what would become the Garfield Park Branch. The focus of the master plan was to recreate the site with demonstrations of sustainable landscape features that library patrons could duplicate in their yards.

Through two phases of construction, new walks connected the library to the park, relocated bus stop, public sidewalks, and existing parking, as the paths flowed through native demonstration gardens to the front door. A rain garden was designed to capture and infiltrate over two-thirds of the stormwater that hit the site. Native plants were clustered around the walks and the new reading garden, with botanical signs allowing visitors to learn about each plant species. Pervious pavement in the shape of a Tulip Tree leaf created an outdoor gathering space. New lighting, flagpole, seating, and signage completed the renovations to create a unique library site, enhancing the mission of the library system and the Garfield Park Branch.