The Indiana State Library's exterior is made from Indiana limestone. Above the ground-floor windows, facing Senate Avenue, there are various figures carved in stone. These figures include a Native American, a trapper, a priest, and a settler. Also depicted is a motion-picture camera representing invention, a designer with his instruments representing the arts, and an airplane representing transportation and science.
Across the top of the Senate Avenue side of the building, there are additional stone carvings. These slightly larger-than-life bas relief sculptures are the work of Leon Hermant of Chicago. The figures show the history and development of Indiana. Starting from the south end of the Senate Avenue side are the following figures: explorer (Lasalle at St. Joseph and Kankakee Rivers), soldier (Clark at Vincennes), pioneer, farmer, law maker, miner, builder, manufacturer, educator, and aspiring student.
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Perched above the doorway of the Senate Avenue entrance is a great owl holding an open book. This carving, symbolizing wisdom, is another work of Hermant. The crown of the building contains stylized owls as well.
The Indiana State Library is more than just a historic building; it is a fully-functional modern library. Since 1825, the Indiana State Library has served not only government officials, but has expanded to serve the needs of all residents of Indiana.
The Indiana State Library serves in a two-fold operation. The physical building of the Indiana State Library is open to the public to support and provide a variety of services including but not limited to; genealogy, Indiana history, preservation, rare books and manuscripts, reference and government services, Talking Books and Braille library, as well as the State Data Center. It also serves as a facility for meetings and special events available to state agencies and the community.
-from Indiana State Library Architecture pamphlet
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