For those visiting the Merchants’ Square supermarket in Carmel, Indiana, they might be surprised to find that the shelves aren’t stocked with groceries. Instead, the aisles are lined with books. The former food store was recently taken over by Carmel Clay Public Library, which transformed the vacant space into a temporary home for its literary collection.
“What’s better than pork & beans?,” Carmel Clay Public Library ask in an Instagram post. “An aisle filled with large print books, that’s what!” Using a supermarket as a public library might seem like a novel idea, but the decision was made with practicality in mind. The library’s main Merchant Square branch is currently being renovated, and likely won’t reopen until 2022. The large grocery store—which had been sitting vacant for the last three years—provided the perfect place to keep the library’s books safe, all while allowing local people to continue to borrow and return them.
The former grocery store’s freezers, fridges, and shelves have now been entirely repurposed to hold all of Carmel Clay Public Library’s children’s and teen materials, as well as most of its adult print collection and audiovisual resources. CCPL communications manager Christy Walker reveals, “Biographies and periodicals are now located in the freezers. Audiobooks now sit where deli meats used to be. Part of our children’s department is in what used to be the wine section.” Walker adds, “The community is getting a real kick out of the fact that the place where they used to shop for groceries is now a library.”
Check out photos of the temporary supermarket library below.
Carmel Clay Public Library recently transformed a vacant grocery store into a temporary home for its literary collection.