Indy Reads Starts A New Chapter In Fountain Square

A woman behind a check-out counter
Indy Reads bookstore program director Cat Cardwell.

With light spilling in through the south-facing windows and folk melodies spinning on a vintage turntable, Indy Reads‘ bookstore (1066 Virginia Ave., 317-384-1496) is once again open for business. The cozy corner space (formerly the Fountain Square Branch Library) is a peaceful reprieve in the otherwise bustling district on the outskirts of downtown. Cat Cardwell, the bookstore’s program director, says it was a great feeling to finally pull the paper off the windows and see the sun streaming in as she readied the shop for opening day last week.

Situated on Virginia Avenue adjacent to the Lady Spray fountain, Indy Reads is a sharp addition to the neighborhood. Adding to a collection of shops that includes Bovaconti Coffee, Howl + Hide, Zodiac Vintage, Snakeroot Botanicals, and Square Cat Vinyl, Indy Reads also fills a gap as one of downtown’s only bookstores. Inside the bright and airy space, guests can browse all genres of used books in good condition, as well as a selection of new books in stock for the holidays. If you can’t find what you came for, digital kiosks near the counter offer quick access to the store’s online bookshop with many more titles and audio books. “The online store allows for a more extensive catalogue and new releases,” says Christina Binhack, vice president of programs, explaining that purchases are often delivered in 48-to-72-hours from date of purchase. And, just as with in-store purchases, all proceeds go to Indy Reads’ tuition free adult education programs.

The original Indy Reads bookstore opened on Mass Ave in 2012 as a source of revenue for the that nonprofit. “No matter where someone is on the reading spectrum or on the level of education, we can help,” says Binhack. Previously, the organization kept offices in the Central Library and operated the bookstore separately. But that created a disconnect between the tandem services. “We wanted to find a space to illustrate our mission as a whole,” says Binhack, adding that the Fountain Square location provided that unity. “It’s more than a store, it’s an opportunity to create a community hub for families.”

A children's corner of the bookstore with a small table and chairs in the center
The children’s nook in the bookstore.

A pint-sized area for children sits adjacent to the rare books collection seen through the windows, and vintage typewriters top shelves in the back half of the store that are filled with poetry, mystery, and classics. Opening weekend saw a steady stream of new patrons and old regulars settling in among the stacks. Adults and kids alike made bookmarks to take home on the stage that will soon host readings and events. Binhack hopes to bring back some of the programs the former Mass Ave location offered, while also adding new programs for families. “The best way to stay up to date on our program offerings will be to follow our social media accounts and subscribe to our newsletter,” she says. The shop is open Thursday–Saturday from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sundays from noon–4 p.m.