A Lasting Tribute to a Lover of Life and Literacy

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January 2020

The Carmel Clay Public Library (CCPL) held the grand opening of its new branch, the Joyce Winner West Branch, earlier this month in the Village of WestClay. The 5,000-square-foot branch was named in honor of the late Joyce Winner—wife of Carmel resident Jim Winner—who passed away last year. Winner was a beloved friend to many, an avid reader, a passionate advocate for early literacy and a longtime CCPL Foundation Guild member.

Joyce Winner West Branch Offers Convenience and Amenities

The building itself boasts incredible light and remarkable views of the town square. The location also provides excellent walkability and is a short bike ride or car ride from any of the surrounding neighborhoods.

The spaces within the branch offer places to work or study or enjoy a good read from any of the robust collections available at the branch. And if you wish to have an item brought over from the main branch—no worries—the library will have its courier service bring it right over.

Cardholders can order things in and return items from either location. The Conservatory in the Joyce Winner West Branch will be used for programming and offers a beautiful place for reading and respite. The branch’s meeting room is designed to seat six and is an ideal space for small groups to meet.

Additionally, the library is very excited about the state-of-the-art automated materials return handling system. There is a walk-up and drive-up materials return in the rear of the branch for additional convenience.

A Tribute to a Beloved Lady

Christy Walker, CCPL communications manager, spoke with us briefly about the library’s namesake.

“When Joyce became a part of our [Carmel] community, the library became an important part of her life because it was one of the things that she was interested in and passionate about,” Walker said. “I think her activity with the guild and the fact that she and Jim [Winner] were inspired to get the Centennial Society up and running with their generous support is why—when circumstances took the turn that they did [regarding Joyce’s health]—Jim, recognizing how important the library was to Joyce, was inspired to give another generous gift to the library in Joyce’s honor and in her memory.”

Mrs. Joyce Winner

The CCPL Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Hamilton added, “Joyce wanted to embrace and adopt the children of the world, and the way that she found to do that was through the library and through literacy. It was very natural for her to be involved at our library because of the depth of our children’s programming, and she loved that. Joyce was one of those people that had that unique gift and was always looking for a way to make others feel special.”

A Dedicated Friend, Volunteer and Spouse

The Winners moved to the Village of WestClay in 2006. They have been active community members and volunteers and became extended family to their neighbors over the years. When the Winners learned that a branch was coming to their neck of the woods, both were elated.

“I suppose we found out the West Branch was coming to [WestClay] a few years ago,” Jim Winner said. “We wanted to support the West Branch, so we arranged to give a monetary contribution and the library would name a [children’s] reading room after Joyce. Then last spring, when we found out [Joyce] was terminal, I thought what better way to honor her life than to have the library named after her. So, I met with Liz [Hamilton] and proposed what I’d like to do. The board approved, and here we are.”

Carmel resident, Jim Winner

I asked if Joyce knew that the branch would be named after her before she left us, and her husband replied, “I told her, but by that time, she was pretty ill. So, I don’t know if she realized the impact. I do know that she was thrilled that a branch of the library was coming to WestClay. How many neighborhoods that you know of have a branch of the library in the middle of town square?”

Winner continued, “Joyce was a voracious reader. We would go to Florida for the winter and she would read 40 books. The library down there would call us and say, ‘Hey, there’s sand in this book.’ We’d take our books to the beach and read them. Aside from me, her three main loves were her faith, the library and she loved kids. She was heavily invested in the kids and young families in the Village.

Joyce was the most selfless person I’ve ever met. She wasn’t caught up in consumerism, and she didn’t care about the Joneses, and she didn’t need to keep up with them. Joyce was very comfortable in the person that she was. She was so much fun to be with, and she was very giving, kind and honest.”

Winner paused then concluded, “If I could only say one thing about Joyce, it would be that she never quit loving. She was what I call a ‘foxhole buddy.’ If you called her at 3 a.m. and needed her to jump in the foxhole with you, she’d be right there. She was that kind of person. We lost a good one when we lost her.”

For more information and hours of operation, visit carmel.lib.in.us.