February 2024 Update
Thank you all for your patience during our temporary Southwest Branch closure. We have received countless messages of love and support from our Monroe County community. The damage sustained was significant, and the restoration process will be considerable. Our team is working hard to determine the needed repairs, as well as a possible reopening date. Stay tuned for continued updates within the next few weeks.
January 2024 Update
Due to the extreme cold temperatures, one of the exhaust vents froze overnight, leading to large amounts of water being distributed to approximately one-third of the Southwest Branch, including the program lobby, program room, Teen Space, portions of the entrance to the Children's space, and a small portion of the Adult print area. To prioritize public safety and comfort, the Southwest Branch will be closed until the proper repairs can be made.
While no collections were damaged, we ask that patrons use the Downtown Library, the Ellettsville Branch, and the Bookmobile collections for browsing and placing holds. If you have any holds currently waiting for you at the Southwest Branch, please change your pickup location on our website or contact the Library and request to have those holds routed to the Downtown Library, the Ellettsville Branch, or the Bookmobile for pickup. Until the Southwest Branch reopens, you will need to select one of these three pickup locations. You can still return materials to the Southwest Branch, as well as any other MCPL location.
As we work through repairs, we may reschedule some Southwest Branch programs at either of our other two locations. Please check our calendar for program location changes or contact the Library for information on the location of any upcoming Southwest Branch programs.
Upcoming Improvements and City Infrastructure Projects
Thank you all for your community feedback regarding the new Southwest Branch. The upcoming Gordon Pike construction project will significantly alter the size of our new connecting sidewalk, as well as the route of the road and elevation relative to MCPL's property. As the construction project commences, which is expected later this year, we'll be sure to remain in contact with our city officials to make the branch as accessible as possible.
There are numerous development projects coinciding as our community continues to evolve. The Southwest Branch construction is independent of Monroe County's infrastructure project for Fullerton Pike, Phase III. More information on the City's ongoing infrastructure projects can be found here, and information specific to Fullerton Pike, Phase III can be found here. The Library will be planting approximately 40 new trees all along Gordon Pike and South Rogers Street to help maintain the area's natural environment.
The new 21,000-square-foot Southwest Branch sits on approximately five acres of property on the Southwest corner of the Batchelor Middle School grounds at 890 W. Gordon Pike, west of the South Rogers Street and West Gordon Pike roundabout. In addition to traditional services and spaces, the new branch features a teaching kitchen, an all-ages collaborative space, and an amphitheater.
Grand Opening Photo Wall
- In April 2018, the Library Board of Trustees approved hiring Matheu Architects, PC for a branch planning study. Our recent strategic direction planning process validated the community's need and desire for an additional branch.
- In the summer of 2018, conversations between the Library, Matheu Architects, PC, and a number of community leaders and stakeholders informed a general Southwest location of this potential third facility. The Southwest portion of the county is the largest growing area in terms of residential growth and population, is an underserved area for library services, and is one of the few available and viable land areas.
- In September 2018, many Southwest-area residents participated in scheduled community conversations to provide input into a new Southwest branch. Additionally, over 800 Monroe County residents provided feedback via a survey, email, or by phone.
- In February 2019, Matheu Architects, PC's branch planning study (PDF) was presented to and unanimously approved by the Library Board of Trustees at which point, we began discussions with its real estate broker. Operational costs would be funded without impact on the two current Library branches and construction costs funded without any anticipated increase in tax rates.
- In Summer 2019, Matheu Architects, PC was hired to design the new branch. The company was selected based on proven qualifications and project experience.
In Fall 2019, a potential site was identified and discussions began to take place. Additionally, budget and potential funding options were identified.
In December 2019, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County awarded the Library a grant for equipment, appliances, and supplies to establish a 600-square foot teaching kitchen in the future Southwest Branch.
In March 2020, the Library Board of Trustees and the Monroe County Community School Corporation Board (MCCSC) approved a purchase for sale agreement for an approximately 5-acre property on the Southwest corner of the Batchelor Middle School site at 900 W. Gordon Pike.
In Summer 2020, we began the development of a required site and county subdivision plan.
In September 2020, Hoosier Forestry Consultants, LLC performed a timber area review of the land (PDF). The Library Board of Trustees selected and approved a building footprint and siting option.
In November 2020, we submitted the required site and county subdivision plan to the County.
- From January–February 2021, we received the approval of our subdivision and property recording and purchased the land from Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC).
- From January–March 2021, we finalized the interior finishes and design development.
- In June 2021, the Monroe County Council approved a bond for branch construction (at current tax rate) and Friends of the Library pledge $650,000 to the new branch.
- From March–September 2021, we completed construction documents, sought a bid, and approved a contract (with Strauser Construction). In September, a construction bond was sold.
Time-Lapse Camera of Construction Site
(Hover your mouse over the image to access the controls)
- WTIU/WFIU June 1, 2023 Monroe County Public Library to open southwest branch on June 9 [video]
- WTIU/WFIU May 31, 2023 Monroe County Public Library to open southwest branch on June 9
- South Central Indiana News Network May 30, 2023 podcast about the opening of the Southwest Branch
- The Herald-Times May 25, 2023 A treehouse with 'lightsaber' fixtures: Peek inside the new library branch
- K-LOVE Closer Look April 23, 2023 introduction of MCPL and discussion of the Southwest Branch
- WTIU/WFIU April 8, 2022 video and article on the branch construction progress
- WTIU/WFIU November 22, 2021 coverage of construction preparation
- Bloomington Chamber of Commerce September 15, 2021 coverage on new branch construction site
- WFHB July 22, 2021 coverage on construction bids and design
- The Herald-Times June 28, 2021 New Library Branch to Feature V-shaped Roof, Lost of Windows, Teaching Kitchen
- WTIU/WFIU June 11, 2021 Monroe County Could Add New Branch By End of 2022
- The Herald-Times June 10, 2021 County Council approves $6M bond for new library branch (watch on CATS)
- The Herald-Times November 6, 2020 coverage on the upcoming land purchase Library Board vote
- The Herald-Times October 30, 2020 letter to the editor from Bloomington Environmental and Tree Commissions
- WTIU/WFIU October 1, 2020 coverage on the branch design Board of Trustees vote
- B-Square Beacon September 30, 2020 article on the branch design Board of Trustees vote
- The Herald-Times September 30, 2020 article on the branch design Board of Trustees vote
- WTIU/WFIU September 28, 2020 coverage on the branch design options
- The Herald-Times September 28, 2020 article on the branch design options
- The Herald-Times July 27, 2020 guest column from Library Board of Trustees President, John Walsh responding to concerns about tree removal
- Bloom Magazine April 4, 2020 coverage of Library bicentennial, including new branch and teaching kitchen information
- WTIU/WFIU March 5, 2020 coverage of Library Board approval of a purchase agreement to buy a portion of the Batchelor Middle School property
- The Indiana Daily Student March 5, 2020 article on Board approval of a purchase agreement to sell a portion of the Batchelor Middle School property to the Library
- The Herald-Times March 2, 2020 article on Board approval of a purchase agreement to sell a portion of the Batchelor Middle School property to the Library
- The Herald-Times February 26, 2020 article on Board approval of a purchase agreement to sell a portion of Batchelor Middle School property to the Library
- The Herald-Times December 14, 2019 article on the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County's community impact grant awards
- B97 March 3, 2019 interview with Marilyn Wood on the Library, including the new branch
- WTIU/WFIU February 25, 2019 coverage of three potential locations for a new branch
- The Herald-Times December 26, 2018 article on feasibility study results and community feedback on the branch
- The Herald-Times September 25, 2018 article on scheduled branch planning community talks
- The Indiana Daily Student September 23, 2018 article on the Library seeking public input on a new branch
- WTIU/WFIU September 11, 2018 coverage of the Library seeking public input on a new branch