Welcome to the Carmel Clay Public Library

Welcome to one of the coolest places to hang-out in Carmel, where everyone’s invited and admission doesn’t cost a dime. Over 1000 people a day walk through the doors at the Carmel Clay Public Library so this facility is more than just a pretty face. According to Beth Smietana, Communications Manager at the library, its success is based on hard work and attention to community demographics. She recently answered some questions about the past, present and future of this cultural icon.

How would you summarize the library’s evolution over the last decade?
We actually built a brand new structure in 1999 to reflect the modern trend away from the traditional, “shushed” atmosphere of old libraries. Then we completed a major interior remodeling last year which further updated the building and allowed us to emphasize spaces which are frequented more than others. For instance, we found that the highest circulation occurs in the audio-visual department, where you can check out free DVDs. Generally speaking, however, the biggest change in libraries has beenthe computer and electronic revolution.  
How are you staying current with technology?
We have online access that’s very fast; our fiber optics are up to date and allow anyone with a laptop and a Wi-Fi card to go online throughout the building. A lot of our patrons come for that very reason. Just introduced is a Radio Frequency Identification system (RFID), which utilizes “smart tags” for check-out. These tags allow the checkout process to be largely automated, more efficient and geared towards self service.  
What do you want to emphasize about programs that you offer?
We have so many age appropriate activities offered throughout the year which you can find at our website www.carmel.lib.in.us and also read about in our newsetter “Happenings”. For example, we have a monthly calendar of programs for children from infancy through grade 5. Middle and high school students can enjoy programs and book discussion groups that are specific to their age group. Adults can choose between four book discussion groups that meet on different Wednesdays each month and cover anything from mainstream to mystery. Useful programs such as retirement planning, using online applications and protecting yourself from identity theft are also offered for adults.
Where do you see the future of the library in 10-15 years?
I see a trend towards e-books and more audiovisual items going digital. In fact, no one can predict everything that will occur which is why we keep our fingers on the pulse of the community. We constantly monitor our patrons’ needs through surveys with schools, the city, the Chamber of Commerce and community outreach programs. The death of libraries has been greatly exaggerated. They will always be here as a center for people who love to explore knowledge. Libraries are so much more than just books.
Beth Smietana, Communications Manager at the Carmel Clay Public Library