The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
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December 2007

What’s New · Main Library for the 21st Century

The Main Library is about to undergo a major transformation! In order to better meet the rapidly changing needs of our customers, an exciting and dynamic new service model has been developed. This new model is customer-focused and emphasizes convenience and increased access to services and a broad spectrum of technological applications.

What does this mean for customers right now?

Construction will begin after Labor Day and conclude in early February. Portions of the building will be closed during construction and collections shifted. But the Main Library will remain open throughout the process and all material will continue to be available to our customers. Construction updates will appear on display boards at the Library entrances. And of course, the Main Library staff will be happy to assist you find materials during the transition!

What will the Main Library look like once the project is completed?

  • The Popular Library will be created by merging the Fiction and Films & Recordings Departments and the Atrium Collection. The Popular Library will include fiction, audiovisual material (movies, audiobooks, recordings), graphic novels for adults, large print titles, foreign fiction, and English as a Second Language (ESL) material. Construction completed.
  • A new research department, Genealogy & Local History, will combine portions of the current History & Genealogy and Rare Books & Special Collections Departments. The new department will collect and house all genealogical material, as well as all material concerning the history and culture of the city of Cincinnati, its African-American community, and its Ohio river setting. Research-level services in these areas will also be available. Construction completed.
  • The Technology Center will house 100 computers. It will offer customers access to the Internet, productivity software (including word processing), social software, the ability to download music, and graphics/audio/video/web development workstations. Construction completed.
  • Under the new service model, most of the current subject departments will be merged into the Information & Reference Department. “Roving reference” staff will assist customers in the building, and the “Remote Reference Center” will handle phone calls and emails. The Grants Resource Center and Job Resource Center will also be located in this department. The Main Library’s extensive non-fiction collection, which is currently divided among the subject departments, will be merged and shelved in Dewey Decimal order. Construction completed.
  • The new TeenSpot, designed specifically to meet the needs and interests of young people (ages 12-18), features a high-interest collection of teen print and audiovisual material and the latest technology. The Spot offers an inviting and comfortably furnished floor plan designed to support a wide variety of activities from group and independent studying to programs and activities just for teenagers. Construction completed.
  • Homework Central is an area dedicated exclusively to supporting the homework needs of young people. Technology supporting homework is readily available from all computers, including Internet access and a range of productivity software frequently needed by today’s students to complete schoolwork, such as word processing and presentation software. Construction completed.
  • The Children’s Learning Center and Magazines & Newspapers Department will remain in their current locations.
  • As a time-saving convenience for customers, self-service check out machines will be available throughout the Main Library. Customers will also be able to retrieve their own holds using the self-service holds service.

What other changes can you look forward to?

  • Several Study Areas will be located throughout the building.
  • New carpeting and more lively paint colors in the public areas.
  • Fine and fee payment by credit card

How long will the project take?

Construction will be completed in February. We hate to inconvenience our customers even for a limited time, but we’re certain that these improvements will enable us to better serve Main Library customers by providing them with a more attractive, service-oriented facility!

Other Questions

Here are answers to some other questions we’ve received about the reorganization of the Main Library.

Construction News

December 17.The area adjacent to the elevators on the 2nd floor of the North Building is closed for construction. Customers must use the 2nd floor connector to access the Magazines & Newspapers Department.

December 7.The Vine Street entrance has re-opened.

December 3.The Vine Street entrance to the Main Library will be closed for approximately one week.

December 3.The Walnut Street entrance has re-opened.

November 26.The Walnut Street entrance to the Main Library will be closed for approximately one week.

November 26.Furniture is being installed in the 2nd floor study area (adjacent to the Information & Reference Department).

November 21.The Library for the Blind service desk is closed. This space is being remodeled for the Homework Center. Library for the Blind customers may request assistance at any other Main Library service desk.

November 9. Construction on the TeenSpot is underway. The teen material shelves have been temporarily relocated to the Magazines & Newspapers Department.

November 9. Customers will not be able to access the 3rd floor meeting rooms while renovation of the space formerly occupied by the History & Genealogy Department takes place.

November 7. Recarpeting of the 2nd floor bridge is complete. The magazines, tables, and chairs have been moved back into the bridge.

October 30. The Genealogy and Local History Department opens. This department is located on the 3rd floor of the South Building.

October 30. The Rare Books & Special Collections Department is renamed the Cincinnati Room and becomes a part of the Genealogy and Local History Department.

October 23. The Technology Center is open for business! This department is located on the 2nd floor of the South Building.

October 20. The Literature & Languages Department service desk is closed. L&L floor collection relocated to various areas throughout the third floor.

October 16. Atrium Circulation Desk re-opens. Self-check machines and express holds are available.

October 10. In preparation for the opening of the Technology Center, all public computers removed from the Atrium.

October 5. Work on the Popular Library is complete. Self-check machines are available.

October 3. Information & Reference Department service desk opens on 2nd floor of south building.

October 3. The Science & Technology Department service desk is closed. Questions can be answered by staff at the Information & Reference Department service desk.

October 3. The Art & Music Department service desk is closed. Questions can be answered by staff at the Information & Reference Department service desk. A&R Department floor collection relocated to various areas throughout the Main Library. A&R public space completely closed to the public—customers must use the north building to access the Rare Books & Special Collections Department. Third floor restrooms closed.

September 20. The South Building Circulation Desk is closed. Temporary Circulation Desk set up in the Atrium.

September 17. The Education & Religion Department service desk is closed.

September 10. The Education & Religion Department floor collection relocated to various areas throughout the Main Library.

August 30. The Government & Business Department service desk is closed.

August 29. Portions of the Government & Business Department collection relocated to various areas on the 2nd floor.


Out-of-date construction news…