The City’s Coolest Libraries

Reading Rainbow: <em>Conveyance</em> at CityWay takes an artful—an ambitious—approach to the modern concept of “little free libraries.”
The 9-foot-tall library on The Alexander’s south lawn fits right in with the captivating original artwork the hotel is known for. But unlike the interior pieces, Conveyance comes not from Newfields or CityWay, but from the scrappy Rachel Simon (yes, those Simons) and her social-justice organization, The Public Collection. Simon found a calling in spreading literacy through her hometown, particularly in areas where citizens are less likely to have resources for reading; there’s one inside a clinic at Eskenazi Health, for instance. Ten book-share stations (each commissioned from an artist) and 64,000 books (all donated by the Indianapolis Public Library) later, Simon’s program has redefined the “micro library.” Conveyance, designed and fabricated by Indy-based Project One Studio, stops traffic with protrusions of colorful geometric forms that symbolize the complexity and depth of experiences had and emotions felt while reading. While Simon doesn’t have statistics on the program’s impact on local literacy levels, she has seen enough families borrowing from the stations to believe her idea is working. The Public Collection expects to release its 11th and 12th editions later this year.