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Central Library will close public computer lab June 1

Michael Torres, a Central Library employee and the president of the library's union, at work Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Photo by Sophie Young/Mirror Indy)

INDIANAPOLIS (MIRROR INDY) — The public computer lab on the first floor of Central Library will close June 1.  

The space has 22 computers, including one station for assistive technology. 

The lab will be converted to offices for the six employees who were experts in helping the public use the technology. Those employees will now teach computer classes and seminars. The library wants to expand a Chromebook lending program, in response to the end of the Affordable Connectivity Program – a federal program that offered cheaper home internet service.

Visitors will now have to use the computers on floors four, five and six. Staff on those floors are trained to help with research and checking out materials, but will take on additional tasks.

“Our reference staff are capable of helping, it’s just a capacity issue,” said Michael Torres, a Central Library staff member and president of the library union. “It’s really about the access of help, the kind of help they’re going to be able to get.” 

While the lab employees knew about the decision, the rest of Central Library’s staff learned about the closing May 6.

The computer lab’s closing will also affect other branches in the Indianapolis Public Library system.

When the library union announced the closing on its Facebook page, Julie Fore, an employee at another library branch, commented: “As someone from a branch location, it would have been nice for the powers that be to have let the rest of us know. 

“We sometimes refer people to the (Central Library) computer lab for additional help and training when they have a need we can’t provide for.”

Rather than offering walk-in assistance, the computer lab’s six employees will now teach classes. A statement from IPL said “patron feedback” led to the change and the library plans to bring more classes to other branches in the city. For more tech questions, you can find drop-in support sessions on the library’s calendar.

This story has been updated to reflect comments from IPL.