Repurposed Library Will Carry on as Community Hub

Hamilton County’s Atlanta Carnegie Library is slated for reuse as Town Hall and municipal offices.

Atlanta Carnegie library, Hamilton County

New Chapter

Among landmarks embedded in communal memory, public libraries hold cache not just as places where people developed a love of reading, but also as community hubs. When such buildings lose their original purpose, generations of local goodwill make them ripe for reuse. In the northern Hamilton County town of Atlanta, Indiana Landmarks was able to help the Town preserve a historic library and find an inventive new use that maintains its community status.

Completed in 1917, the library is part of the philanthropic legacy of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, who funded construction of 1,689 libraries in America in the early twentieth century. Indiana holds the distinction of receiving more grants for Carnegie libraries than any other state, with 164 libraries built through the program from 1901 to 1922.

The Neoclassical-style building continued to serve its original purpose for more than a century, most recently as a branch of the Hamilton North Public Library system. In 2023, decreasing use and budget constraints prompted the Hamilton North Library Board to close the branch and offer the building for sale.

Atlanta Carnegie library, Hamilton County

Indiana Landmarks emerged as a partner when the Atlanta officials – hoping to adapt the historic library for use as Town Hall and municipal office space – were outbid by other buyers. We loaned the Town $200,000 from our Endangered Places Program to help secure the purchase and attached protective covenants to ensure the building’s architectural character will be protected.

The Town has hired an architect to draw up plans for the building’s reuse that preserve the library’s historic exterior and interior features, and officials hope to use a portion of the building to offer computer and printer access to the community. For more information about the project, contact Atlanta town clerk Jennifer Farley,

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