The Library is committed to the community’s well-being and to contributing to the effort to build a bright future for everyone living in Cincinnati and Hamilton County. As a part of this commitment, the Library will undergo a decade-long process to upgrade its facilities. Thanks to the residents of Hamilton County, the Library will receive approximately $19 million in additional funding for the next ten years beginning in April 2019, for a total of $190 million. This is our first budget increase in nearly 20 years. Given that the average length of time since a branch has been renovated is 40+ years, the bulk of this funding will go toward system-wide improvements.
While the development of the Facilities Master Plan will take all of 2019 to complete, the Library recognizes that certain facilities need major improvements now. Accessibility projects are our #1 priority, and we have already connected with the local groups, including Design Impact and FTC&H to start the planning work to re-envision the Price Hill, Walnut Hills, and Madisonville branch libraries ensuring they are accessible to everyone including those with disabilities. Structural issues at Price Hill mean that this branch will be first to undergo improvements. Work on the branch will begin during 2019.
The downtown Main Library consists of a two buildings - the North Building and the South Building. The South building was originally built in the mid-1950s with an addition in the mid-1980s. The HVAC and electrical system in the 1950s building is almost entirely original and is in need of updating. In addition a sprinkler system needs to be installed. The North building was built in the mid-1990s and has not had its roof replaced since then.
The Library will soon be opening a Distribution Center which will help us get library materials into the hands of community members quickly and more efficiently. Last year we loaned over 19.9 million items to the residents of Hamilton County, so a state of the art distribution center is necessary to continue to provide excellent service to the community.