- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Eight new book-sharing stations have debuted around Indianapolis in an effort to promote art and literacy.

A ceremony was held Thursday afternoon at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis to celebrate the launch of The Public Collection, an effort aiming to broaden community access to books, which is supported by the Herbert Simon Family Foundation, in partnership with Art Strategies and the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

“In middle-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is 13-to-1. In low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is one age-appropriate book for 300 children,” said Mindy Taylor Ross of Art Strategies.

Each station is unique and was designed an Indiana-based artist to fit its environment, while the books were supplied by the Indianapolis Public Library, The Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/1KSdQZq ) reported.

The stations are open to the public and free of charge. Residents are able to read or browse at the stations, borrow a book or share it with a friend and return it to any station at his or her convenience.

Stations are located at Monument Circle, the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Eskenazi Health, Horizon House, City Market and on the Cultural Trail.

Artist LaShawnda Crowe Storm, whose installment “Play Station” is one of the two stations housed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, said she felt like she had done her job when she saw preschool-age children interact with it.

“They came out and attacked it,” she said. The station is covered in Lego pieces that invite children to play. “I made it for them to take ownership.”

“The answer is in the question” installment by Phil O’Malley, which consist of two large, moveable question marks also has inspired creative play from children at Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center.

“As soon as they brought them in, we brought the kids in the after-school program,” said Kimberly Coveney, director of development and communications at the center. “They literally got into it,” peeking in the shelves, standing under the question marks.

“Table of Contents” at the Horizon House, a homeless shelter, looks like someone’s living room or a cafe, offering a place where visitors can sit and read.

“A lot of people take books for granted,” said Rachel M. Simon, the project’s creator. “To increase access to books, and it’s free, it’s exciting.”

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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