The Indiana Young Readers Center at the Indiana State Library was officially opened on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 at an event featuring special guest speakers and an open house for attendees. The evening began with State Librarian Jacob Speer welcoming guests and introducing the speakers. Dr. Robert Barcus spoke on behalf of the Indiana State Library Foundation, a large contributor of funding for the center. Executive Director of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission Perry Hammock spoke about the many Bicentennial Legacy projects across the state, including the Indiana Young Readers Center. Karen Jaffe, head of the Library of Congress Young Readers Center, read aloud a letter of congratulations from Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress. Indiana author April Pulley Sayre performed the “Indiana Chant,” which she penned in honor of the state’s 200th birthday and is featured in the Indiana Young Readers Center. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz concluded the speaking ceremony by sharing her support and enthusiasm for libraries and the promotion of literacy to our state’s youth.
Superintendent Ritz and Dr. Barcus then officially opened the Indiana Young Readers Center following a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Guests enjoyed an open house with refreshments and music by harpist Abigail Acosta. Children got their pictures taken with Garfield and Clifford characters and received gift bags that included a free book, bookmarks and more.
The Indiana State Library is the first state library to open such a center for youth. The Indiana Young Readers Center houses a collection of print and Braille books by Indiana authors and illustrators. The newly installed exhibits include interactive activities for visitors to learn more about Indiana authors, genealogy, Indiana history and more!