Indiana State Library and Historical Building

Edit profile
Indiana State Library and Historical Building

The Indiana State Library and Historical Bureau is a public library building, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the largest public library in the state of Indiana housing over 60,000 manuscripts. Established in 1934, the library has gathered a large collection of books a vast variety of topics.


The Indiana State Library and Historical Bureau has been open to the public since 1934.

The first attempts to have a state library started when Indiana was still a territory with its capital in Corydon, making it the oldest agency of the Indiana government. However, the first actual Indiana state library would not be opened until the capital had moved to Indianapolis, starting on February 11, 1825, with the secretary of state acting as librarian. In 1867 the library's law books were transferred to the Supreme Court to begin the Supreme Court Law Library which has grown to seventy-thousand volumes. The library became its own institution in 1841. The State Board of Education gained control of the library in 1895, with the Department of Education gaining control in 1933. Between 1895 and 1933, the library amassed more material than it had in all its previous existence. Originally, the Library was only for the use of state employees and government officials. After assigning a two-cent tax to attain funds in 1929, and having architects send proposals for a new building in 1931. It was built to designs by Pierre & Wright Architects.

In 1934, when the current building was opened, the public in large were allowed to use it. The building is made of Indiana limestone, sandstone, and walnut. Interior features include brass accents, fanciful murals, walnut-paneled walls, stained glass windows, and woodcarvings. The external architectural sculpture was created by Leon Hermant and carved by Adolph Wolter

The library has six main divisions: Braille, Genealogy, Government Services, Library Development, State History, and State Demographics.

A 1993 inventory of the library's holdings included 60,000 books and pamphlets, 3,500 collected manuscripts, 1,500,000 images, and 1,000 maps. Some of this included not only the history of Indiana, but that of the Old Northwest as well.

It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1995.

The Indiana Historical Bureau has a home at the library. Founded in 1915 as the Indiana Historical Commission, its initial purpose was to prepare for the centennial of Indiana's statehood. The Bureau largely concentrates on the placement of new historical markers across Indiana and encourage education in Indiana history. The bureau runs a gift shop at the Library.

Building Activity

  • Nadezhda Nikolova
    Nadezhda Nikolova activity.buildings_person.create
    about 6 years ago via