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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, 27 branches throughout the city, a mobile library, a Public Administration Library in City Hall, and the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled.

Cleveland Public Library
Cleveland Public Library 2.jpg
Front entrance to the Cleveland Public Library's central location on Superior Avenue
Country USA
Established 1869
Location Cleveland, Ohio
Branches 27
Size 10,557,336 (2016)[1]
Access and use
Circulation 5.5M (2016)[1]
Other information
Director Felton Thomas, Jr. (2009)

Librarian William Howard Brett opened the library's first stand-alone children's room on February 22, 1898.[2] 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 and 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.[3] 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.[4]

In 2002, the Cleveland Public Library had annual attendance of 804,692 and an annual circulation of 1,698,928 items. In 2016, the library's collection totaled 10,557,336 items.[1] The Cleveland Public Library is a member of CLEVNET, a consortium of 44 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 2012, the Library released a strategic plan focusing on communities of learning and preparing for its 150th anniversary in 2019[5].


Main Library departmentsEdit

The main library's Louis Stokes Wing
The main library's Eastman Reading Garden

Main Building (built 1925)

  • 1st Floor: Popular Library magazines, newspapers, and music CD's change made in 10/2011. Circulation is 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.".[6] The Cleveland Digital Public Library (ClevDPL) opened on this floor on February 14, 2015. ClevDPL provides programming for the public in its digital classroom, preserves and conserves library collections, and helps the library, its patrons, and its institutional partners to digitize, describe, and display collections through the library's Digital Gallery.[7]
  • 4th Floor: Youth Services and International Languages
  • 5th Floor: book storage

Basement Walkway to Louis Stokes Wing

Louis Stokes Wing (added 1997)

  • Lower Level: Tech Central.[8] The library's Auditorium and public computer lab are 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".[9]
  • 1st Floor: Circulation, Indoor Reading Garden, Gift Shop
  • 2nd Floor: Learning Commons Conference rooms and classrooms
  • 3rd Floor: Science and Technology (The Patent and Trademark Resource Center[10] is housed in Science and Technology. The library was one of the original patent depository libraries in 1871[11])
  • 4th Floor: Photograph Collection; Government Documents (a Federal depository library collection since 1886[12]); Business, Economics, and Labor[13]
  • 5th Floor: Social Sciences includes religion, politics, education, and sports. This floor also houses the Sports Research Center.[14] United Nations & State of Ohio documents are deposited here too.
  • 6th Floor: Local and Global History also includes an extensive genealogy collection. The Map Collection is also on this floor.
  • 7th & 8th Floors: book storage
  • 9th Floor: book storage and the employee break room
  • 10th Floor: Library Administration

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


Carnegie-West Branch
Lorain Branch
South Branch

The Cleveland Public Library has 27 neighborhood branches located throughout the city in addition to the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled:[15]

  • Addison Branch
  • Brooklyn Branch
  • Carnegie-West Branch - the biggest neighborhood branch at 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2)
  • 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
  • Lorain Branch
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch
  • Memorial-Nottingham Branch - also the location of the Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled
  • 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

Notable former Cleveland Public Library staff membersEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "2016 CPL Annual Report" (PDF). Cleveland Public Library. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  2. ^ Cleveland Public Library Image Collections (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2009 from
  3. ^ Cleveland Public Library, Dominance of the City Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine.. Accessed 2007-07-25.
  4. ^ Cleveland Public Library, Special Collections. Accessed 2017-04-26.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Soder, Chuck (January 12, 2014). "Make space for the makers: Room at Cleveland Public Library built for creative types". Crain's Cleveland Business. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Docs Prescriptions" (PDF). Government Documents Round Table of Ohio. Fall 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016. Happy Anniversary! 130th (Became a Federal Depository in 1886): Cleveland Public Library 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Locations". Cleveland Public Library. Retrieved April 26, 2017. 
  16. ^
  17. ^

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit