November 2018

Facilities Master Plan

Building Our Library’s Future, 2019 - 2029

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 improving each of the Library’s 41 locations.

In order to undertake a project of this scope, the Library hired the experts at Group 4 Architecture, Research + Planning to help create a Facilities Master Plan, which will be a road map the Library can follow when re-envisioning how best to serve the county through its 41 locations. The Library’s Board of Trustees has endorsed the following principles to guide the process:

  • Maximize access
  • Transparency
  • Customer focus
  • Operational sustainability
  • Industry-leading excellence
  • Diversity and inclusion

A Community-Driven Process

System-wide facilities work has not been undertaken in generations. To ensure that taxpayer funds are used ethically, efficiently and effectively, the Library will work with experts to create a Facilities Master Plan. The development of the Plan will take place throughout 2019, and the Library will work with Group 4 and local company Design Impact to hold hundreds of community engagement sessions to listen and learn from the community about what their biggest needs are and how the Library, with its 41 locations, can be re-envisioned to serve not just today’s generation but also generations to come. This includes ensuring that the Library has a viable funding plan in place to keep the improved facilities safe and up-to-date in the years to come.

Good Stewardship: a Facilities Master Plan

The Library is committed to engaging the community, staff, businesses, and other stakeholders throughout the process and in meaningful ways. Community dialog and input will help the Library develop and implement our most ambitious facility plan in our 160 year-history. Community forums and other events will take place throughout the life of the project for each branch to ensure that the facility improvements meet the needs of the community today and into the future.

Addressing Critical Needs in the Short Term

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.

Once created, the Facilities Master Plan will be made publicly available and it will guide the process of system-wide Library improvements, which will encompass not just facilities, but also services, resources, and staffing. The plan will be carried out between 2019 – 2029 as levy funds are made available on a yearly basis.

Questions? Read our FAQs