Columbus Metropolitan Library

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Columbus Metropolitan Library
Columbus Metropolitan Library logo (colored).svg
Columbus Metropolitan Library West Entrance 1.jpg
Main branch of the library system
CountryUnited States
TypePublic library
Established1873; 146 years ago (1873)
Location96 S Grant Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43215
BranchesMain Library and 22 branches
Access and use
Circulation17.3 million
Population served872,000
Other information
Budget$66 million
DirectorPatrick Losinski

The Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) is a public library system in Franklin County, Ohio, in the Columbus metropolitan area. The library serves an area of 872,000 residents, has a collection of 1,483,433 volumes, and circulates 17,262,267 items per year.[2]

The library consists of the Main Library and 22 branches located in neighborhoods throughout Franklin County. The branches are Canal Winchester, Driving Park, Dublin, Franklinton, Gahanna, Hilliard, Hilltop, Karl Road, Linden, Livingston, Marion-Franklin, Martin Luther King, New Albany, Northern Lights, Northside, Parsons, Reynoldsburg, Shepard, South High, Southeast, Whetstone, and Whitehall. CML also jointly operates the Northwest Library in cooperation with Worthington Libraries. Columbus Metropolitan Library is a member of the Central Library Consortium, which enables its 17 member library systems to share a catalog.[3]


The library began operation in 1873 in the New City Hall in downtown Columbus.[4]


Staffing at CML consists of 800 employees, of whom 100 are fully accredited librarians, plus volunteers. The annual expenditures for the library collection totals $7.97 million. In 2017, CML had 5.8 million visits and loaned out 15.7 million items.[5]


New wing of the Main Library, from Topiary Park
The main branch viewed from the Rhodes State Office Tower
The Dublin branch in 2016
The Northside Branch at night in 2018

The Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) system aims to inspire reading, share resources and connect people through their numerous programs and activities. Those services target various groups among its diverse patronage. CML provides help for adults with General Educational Development (GED) classes, technology training for basic computer knowledge, adult basic learning classes, an introductory class on the use of Microsoft Word, Job Help Centers, and classes on basic internet skills. To attract young children and adolescent patrons to the library, CML provides Homework Help Centers at all 23 CML locations. There is also help for children who are home schooled. They also have several teen gaming nights and book groups - such the Summer Reading Challenge, "Comic Book Café,"[6] and the Manga & Anime club. Due to the growing population of Hispanics and Somalis, the library has an extensive English as a Second Language (ESL) program at several branch libraries.[7] There is also Spanish reading time and technology classes taught in Spanish.

The Ready for Kindergarten program is for preschoolers and their parents or caregivers. The library coordinates with teachers and schools to provide Ready for Kindergarten Storytimes and Classes. Storytime is also provided to children with special needs.[8] The Lobby Stop program is for senior citizens in retirement apartments. It utilizes a specially designed truck to transport book carts with large print books, DVDs and other materials and set up a temporary library in the common areas. The Book by mail program, which started in 1977, is for the homebound. Large print books and other materials are mailed monthly or bi-monthly through the US postal system.[4]


CML first offered its patrons a public computer in 1977 and internet access in 1997. CML now has computers at all library locations. CML is WiFi enabled. CML was rated 3 times as #1 by Hennen's because it continues to put patrons first and continues to stay current on technological advances. In 2004 CML started the program "Know-It-Now", a 24/7 virtual reference service.[9] The "Proactive Reference" approach is another way the library is geared towards maximizing patrons' satisfaction; this approach ends the passivity of the reference librarians by taking the chair away and having the librarians interact with patrons throughout the library.[10]


This library is one of the most-used library systems in the country and is consistently among the top-ranked large city libraries according to "Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings." Led by Larry D. Black from 1984 to 2002, the redeveloped CML was formally reopened in 1991 by U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush. Excellent customer service was Black's continual objective. CML was rated the No. 1 library system in the nation in 1999, 2005, 2008, and 2010. It has been in the top four every year since 1999 when the rankings were first published in American Libraries magazine, often challenging up-state neighbor Cuyahoga County Public Library for the top spot.[11][12] CML was named Library of the Year by the Library Journal in 2010.[5]

In 2006, the library was ranked by Hennen's American Public Library Rating Index as #3 for libraries serving populations of 500,000 or greater.[13] The library is state funded and supported by the citizens of Franklin County which has been shown by their repeated passing of a 2.2-mill property levy which has been in place since 1986.[14] This levy was approved again in 2010 at the increased rate of 2.8-mill, the additional 0.6 mill being needed to replace lost state funding.[15]


  1. ^ "The Columbus Metropolitan Library turns the page to better serve customers - Smart Business Magazine".
  2. ^ "Columbus Metropolitan Library". Library Technology Guides. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  3. ^ "Central Library Consortium". Central Library Consortium.
  4. ^ a b "Welcome to -".
  5. ^ a b "NCES data for Columbus Metropolitan Library". Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2017-12-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Columbus, Ohio: The 'everyman' of America". USA Today. 2003-12-17. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  8. ^ "Outreach - Columbus Metropolitan Library".
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2008-11-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ Phillips, Jeb (2005-10-05). "CHECK IT OUT: COLUMBUS LIBRARY NOTCHES NO. 1 RATING". The Columbus Dispatch. pp. News 01B.
  12. ^ "HAPLR 100 for 1999 to 2006". Hennen's American Public Library Ratings. 1999–2006. Retrieved 2007-05-03.
  13. ^ "HAPLR 100 for 1999 to 2006". Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2008-11-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ [2][dead link]

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Coordinates: 39°57′40″N 82°59′22″W / 39.961238°N 82.989516°W / 39.961238; -82.989516