Cleveland Public Library

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Cleveland Public Library
Cleveland Public Library.jpg
Front entrance to the Cleveland Public Library's central location on Superior Avenue
Established 1869
Location Cleveland, Ohio
Other information
Director Felton Thomas, Jr.

The Cleveland Public Library was founded in 1869 and is located in Cleveland, Ohio. It operates the Main Library on Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland, 28 branches throughout the city, a mobile library, a Public Administration Library in City Hall, and a library for the blind and physically handicapped.

Librarian William Howard Brett opened the library's first stand-alone children's room on February 22, 1898.[1] Effie Louise Power was appointed Cleveland's first children's librarian.

In 1915, the Cleveland architectural firm of Walker and Weeks won a competition to design a new library building. Construction of their classical Renaissance design, delayed by the First World War, began in 1923 under Linda Anne Eastman. Eastman (1867–1963) was the first woman to head a major U.S. city library system and a pioneer in the modern library system. She opened bookshelves to patrons, replacing the New York Public Library system in which a librarian fetched the books.

The Main Library consists of two buildings. The older wing, completed on May 6, 1925 and renovated between 1997 to 1999, has five stories, each as high as two stories in most buildings. The renovations included the restoration of a large mural painted by Ora Coltman in 1934 for the Federal Arts Project. The work was done by the Intermuseum Conservation Association.[2] The second building, named after former U.S. Congressman Louis Stokes, was dedicated in 1997. The two buildings are connected by underground corridor below the Eastman Reading Garden, which was designed by landscape architecture firm OLIN, and includes sculptures by Maya Lin and Tom Otterness.

The Main Library's special collections include the Mears and Murdock baseball collections, the Cleveland Theater collection, the John G. White chess and checkers collection, a 130,000-volume children's collection, a 74,000-volume rare book collection, and collection of 1.3 million photographs.[3]

In 2002, the Main Building had annual attendance of 804,692, annual circulation of 1,698,928 items, and a collection totaling 9,745,655 items. The Cleveland Public Library is a member of CLEVNET, a consortium of 38 public libraries throughout northern Ohio. In 1947, it became a depository library for the United Nations Library network, holding documents for the state of Ohio. There are only 400 UN depository libraries worldwide.

In 2003, The Cleveland Public Library and the Cuyahoga County Public Library created the Greater Access Library Card, allowing patrons of both to check out materials from either.

Its mission is "to be the best urban library system in the country by providing access to the worldwide information that people and organizations need in a timely, convenient, and equitable manner."

Main Library departments[edit]

The main library's Louis Stokes Wing

Main Building (built 1925)

  • 1st Floor: Popular Library magazines, newspapers, and music CD's change made in 10/2011. Circulation also available on this floor.
  • 2nd Floor: Literature includes fiction, film, comics, and television
  • 3rd Floor: Fine Arts includes art, architecture, and music. This floor also houses Special Collections which includes the John G. White Collection of Folklore, Orientalia, and Chess, "the largest and most comprehensive chess library in the world."[4]
  • 4th Floor: Youth Services and Foreign Literature
  • 5th Floor is book storage

Basement Walkway to Louis Stokes Wing

Louis Stokes Wing (added 1997)

  • Lower Level: Tech Central.[5] The library's Auditorium is also on this level. In January 2013, Tech Central opened a MakerSpace which includes "a 3-D printer, a laser cutter, a vinyl cutter, musical instruments and video equipment, including a green screen"[6]
  • 1st Floor: Audio Visual and Circulation
  • 2nd Floor: Business, Economics, and Labor. The Computer Learning Connection where the public can take free computer classes is also on this floor.
  • 3rd Floor: Science and Technology
  • 4th Floor: Photograph Collection and Government Documents (a Federal depository library collection)
  • 5th Floor: Social Sciences includes religion, politics, education, and sports
  • 6th Floor: History and Geography also includes an extensive genealogy collection. The Map Collection is also on this floor. United Nations documents are deposited here too.
  • Floors 7-9 are book storage
  • 10th Floor: Library Administration

Cleveland Public Library has a public administration library located at Cleveland City Hall.


The Cleveland Public Library has 30 neighborhood branches located throughout the city:

  • Addison Branch
  • Brooklyn Branch
  • Carnegie-West Branch-The Carnegie West Branch is the biggest neighborhood branch at 25,000 sqft2
  • Collinwood Branch
  • East 131st Street Branch
  • Eastman Branch
  • Fleet Branch
  • Fulton Branch
  • Garden Valley Branch
  • Glenville Branch
  • Harvard-Lee Branch
  • Hough Branch
  • Jefferson Branch
  • Langston Hughes Branch
  • Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled
  • Lorain Branch
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch
  • Memorial-Nottingham Branch
  • Mobile Branch
  • Mount Pleasant Branch
  • Public Administration Library
  • Rice Branch
  • Rockport Branch
  • South Branch
  • South Brooklyn Branch
  • Sterling Branch
  • Union Branch
  • Walz Branch
  • West Park Branch
  • Woodland Branch

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°30′04″N 81°41′30″W / 41.50107°N 81.69164°W / 41.50107; -81.69164