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About Gary Public Library

Introduction

From its beginnings in 1908, the Gary Public Library emerged as a combined social and educational agency - pressed upon to keep up with an expanding city and organize itself as an institution to fulfill these needs. Gary, Indiana, founded in 1906, was an industrial-based land of opportunity that attracted thousands of European immigrants as well as people from throughout the country.

Historically, the Gary Public Library started township service in 1913, establishing itself in the forefront of public libraries. This service extended library services to seven rural townships in Lake County that did not have library service - Hobart, Calumet, St. John, Hanover, North, Ross and Westchester (Porter County). Township service lasted through 1958 when the townships separated from the Gary Public Library.

Throughout the years, the library has remained a vital institution within the community through its service, materials and programs. 

The Gary library system provides service throughout the city of Gary through its Main Library, five branches and bookmobile. It is one of seven independent library systems in Lake County, Indiana.

 Programming/ Unique Services

Like many libraries across the nation, Gary Public Library provides patrons of all ages with more than just books. Innovative and monthly children’s programs are developed through the library’s Council of Youth Librarians with the financial support of the Friends of the Gary Public Library. The library’s African American History Month Program committee has provided the Gary community with local, regional and national speakers since 1970. This major annual event also showcases community talent as part of the program. 

The Indiana Room is the focus of local history/genealogical research, programs and displays. It serves as the region’s oldest collection of local history having started very early in the library's history and features materials on local Gary history and genealogy. A unique and valuable resource of the Indiana Room is the WPA index of local newspapers from 1907 to 1939 as well as thousands of original blueprints of buildings from Gary’s first subdivision. Used by patrons and institutions across the country, the Indiana Room recently received a donation of $10,000 from a Florida couple in appreciation of the genealogical research they received. Their wish was to help the library continue to provide this service for free.

Not having a museum of its own, the Steel City Hall of Fame, Inc. chose the library in 1990 to house its visual display of plaques and photographs detailing the life and accomplishments of Gary individuals. This prominent and encompassing display of more than 50 individuals draws children and adults of all ages to learn and understand the city’s history and humanity.

Access to government publications is available at the Gary Public Library, a designated Federal Depository Library (selective) since 1943.  

Stimulation of the arts & culture through library services and facilities is the Gary Public Library’s commitment to the community.  The library houses the city’s oldest public art galleries located in the Main Library and in its Du Bois Branch. These galleries continue a tradition of nurturing and organizing local artists as well as presenting regional and professional artists. The galleries also present educational exhibits to the community. 

Established cultural programs/activities at the Gary Public Library include a Drama Theatre series has been ongoing at the library for the past sixteen years. Their productions challenge and highlight many social issues that hope to enlighten or unite communities and audiences from all walks of life. Ensemble groups from the city’s only civic symphony orchestra also provide free performances at the library.

Unique to the Gary Public Library is the position of Student Computer Monitor, added in 1999. The primary role of the Monitor is to assist library patrons in the use of the Internet and all application software installed on library computers.  Student Computer Monitors are available at all library units. 

In September 2006 wireless access was made available to the public at the Main Library with wireless access now available at the Brunswick, Du Bois, Kennedy, and Woodson Branch.   

Partnerships

Strong community partnerships, particularly with the Gary Literacy Coalition and the Gary Community School Corporation have resulted in a variety of free programs designed to promote reading as well as to bring noted authors to the library and the city. 

The library also serves as a support library and resource for many of the city’s more than 200 churches that also house libraries, after school or literacy programs of their own.

Community partnerships and outreach are also created through the library’s Bookmobile Service and Extension Services. Together, they deliver materials to shut-ins and provide deposit collections to local fire stations, day cares and of course, classrooms in the city’s thirty public schools, on a daily basis.

Children’s librarians provide school visits as a part of their schedule while daycare centers travel once a month or more to visit the library. Outreach is also provided to community groups, churches and organizations in the form of library printed materials or free books, when available. Library staff also represents the library in annual city parades, health fairs and other community events.

 City Interest

 

About Gary Public Library

Introduction

From its beginnings in 1908, the Gary Public Library emerged as a combined social and educational agency - pressed upon to keep up with an expanding city and organize itself as an institution to fulfill these needs. Gary, Indiana, founded in 1906, was an industrial-based land of opportunity that attracted thousands of European immigrants as well as people from throughout the country.

Historically, the Gary Public Library started township service in 1913, establishing itself in the forefront of public libraries. This service extended library services to seven rural townships in Lake County that did not have library service - Hobart, Calumet, St. John, Hanover, North, Ross and Westchester (Porter County). Township service lasted through 1958 when the townships separated from the Gary Public Library.

Throughout the years, the library has remained a vital institution within the community through its service, materials and programs. 

The Gary library system provides service throughout the city of Gary through its Main Library, five branches and bookmobile. It is one of seven independent library systems in Lake County, Indiana.

 Programming/ Unique Services

Like many libraries across the nation, Gary Public Library provides patrons of all ages with more than just books. Innovative and monthly children’s programs are developed through the library’s Council of Youth Librarians with the financial support of the Friends of the Gary Public Library. The library’s African American History Month Program committee has provided the Gary community with local, regional and national speakers since 1970. This major annual event also showcases community talent as part of the program. 

The Indiana Room is the focus of local history/genealogical research, programs and displays. It serves as the region’s oldest collection of local history having started very early in the library's history and features materials on local Gary history and genealogy. A unique and valuable resource of the Indiana Room is the WPA index of local newspapers from 1907 to 1939 as well as thousands of original blueprints of buildings from Gary’s first subdivision. Used by patrons and institutions across the country, the Indiana Room recently received a donation of $10,000 from a Florida couple in appreciation of the genealogical research they received. Their wish was to help the library continue to provide this service for free.

Not having a museum of its own, the Steel City Hall of Fame, Inc. chose the library in 1990 to house its visual display of plaques and photographs detailing the life and accomplishments of Gary individuals. This prominent and encompassing display of more than 50 individuals draws children and adults of all ages to learn and understand the city’s history and humanity.

Access to government publications is available at the Gary Public Library, a designated Federal Depository Library (selective) since 1943.  

Stimulation of the arts & culture through library services and facilities is the Gary Public Library’s commitment to the community.  The library houses the city’s oldest public art galleries located in the Main Library and in its Du Bois Branch. These galleries continue a tradition of nurturing and organizing local artists as well as presenting regional and professional artists. The galleries also present educational exhibits to the community. 

Established cultural programs/activities at the Gary Public Library include a Drama Theatre series has been ongoing at the library for the past sixteen years. Their productions challenge and highlight many social issues that hope to enlighten or unite communities and audiences from all walks of life. Ensemble groups from the city’s only civic symphony orchestra also provide free performances at the library.

Unique to the Gary Public Library is the position of Student Computer Monitor, added in 1999. The primary role of the Monitor is to assist library patrons in the use of the Internet and all application software installed on library computers.  Student Computer Monitors are available at all library units. 

In September 2006 wireless access was made available to the public at the Main Library with wireless access now available at the Brunswick, Du Bois, Kennedy, and Woodson Branch.   

Partnerships

Strong community partnerships, particularly with the Gary Literacy Coalition and the Gary Community School Corporation have resulted in a variety of free programs designed to promote reading as well as to bring noted authors to the library and the city. 

The library also serves as a support library and resource for many of the city’s more than 200 churches that also house libraries, after school or literacy programs of their own.

Community partnerships and outreach are also created through the library’s Bookmobile Service and Extension Services. Together, they deliver materials to shut-ins and provide deposit collections to local fire stations, day cares and of course, classrooms in the city’s thirty public schools, on a daily basis.

Children’s librarians provide school visits as a part of their schedule while daycare centers travel once a month or more to visit the library. Outreach is also provided to community groups, churches and organizations in the form of library printed materials or free books, when available. Library staff also represents the library in annual city parades, health fairs and other community events.

 City Interest