Muncie Public Library (MPL) recently received a $100,000 grant from The Patricia Schaefer Foundation Trust and a $30,000 Historic Preservation Fund grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The grants will be used for the restoration of the Carnegie Library in downtown Muncie. Carnegie Library was built with funds from industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1904. The building has continuously operated as a public library and now serves as the Local History & Genealogy branch of MPL. It is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in Indiana.
The goal of the restoration project is to make the necessary repairs to the iconic Carnegie Library building to protect the structure and its contents from the elements while preserving the building’s historic integrity. A professional assessment by Arsee Engineers in 2022 identified several priorities to be repaired, including the concrete curb at the base of the limestone facade, failed seams in the roof, water collection issues in corner gutters, spalled limestone masonry, failed mortar joints, failed sealant joints in limestone and at the perimeter of windows and wall openings, and damaged plaster. According to MPL Library Director, Akilah Nosakhere, a series of fundraising events and opportunities will be planned in the near future. “These initial and generous grants will allow us to begin work almost immediately to save this community treasure,” she said, noting that project details and specifications will be publicized and made available to those interested in submitting bids for the project.
According to Sara McKinley, Local History & Genealogy Supervisor at Carnegie Library, the goal is to maintain the building as a library offering access to unique collections and educational opportunities while also preserving the beauty of a rare and iconic historic structure for future generations. “Preserving historic places supports a community’s sense of belonging, legacy, and pride of place,” she said.
The Patricia Schaefer Foundation Trust was established by Patricia Schaefer, a former Director of the Muncie Public Library from 1959 until 1986. Schaefer remains a dedicated MPL supporter. In 2011, she donated the beautiful Sonata glass sculpture created by glass artist Christopher Reis that is on display at Kennedy Library.
This project has been funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.