Cleveland Public Library
With a mission to be the very best urban and suburban public library system in the nation, The Cleveland Public Library operates out of several interconnected structures in the heart of downtown Cleveland, plus 28 branches, with several additional specialized libraries scattered about Northeast Ohio.
The Library was founded in 1869, shortly after the close of the Civil War, at first occupying just a single rented room. Within its first several decades, it grew considerably, opening the first dedicated children’s room in 1898. Some years later, The Cleveland Public Library became one of the first urban libraries to open its shelves and stacks to citizens (up to that point, tradition had only library staffers retrieving books).
By the close of the 1800s, Clevelanders had recognized the need to create some semblance of order throughout the city’s downtown core. The 1903 Group Plan, developed by a commission of notable architects, proposed that a cluster of open pedestrian malls (or parks and plazas) be created, ringed by large, stately and uniformly massed civic structures. Initial buildings keyed to the Group Plan — all completed from 1910 through 1922 — included the Federal Courthouse, The Cuyahoga County Courthouse, Cleveland City Hall and Public Auditorium.
The Cleveland Public Library was to become yet another of the Group Plan’s key civic structures. A competition held in 1916 awarded the commission to the locally renowned architectural firm of Walker & Weeks. As the Library’s site lay immediately east of Federal Courthouse, and as the prevailing style of all the initial Group Plan buildings was Classic Revivalism, Walker & Weeks created a Beaux-Arts structure matched to the Federal Courthouse height, massing and scale.
Delayed by World War I, the Library went under construction in 1923 and opened in 1925. This five-story structure, with each floor of shelves and stacks twice a normal floor height, is as tall as some 10-story neighbors. Bracketed between this classic structure and an expansion wing to the east (a converted former newspaper building acquired in 1959) sat the Eastman Reading Garden, long one of the Library’s most favored amenities.
In 1997, a new adjacent structure, created by the architectural firm of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer to replace the demolished expansion wing, opened to the public. This newer 11-story building, named for U.S. Congressman Louis Stokes, consists of a drum-shaped glazed core embedded within — and breaking outward through — a cubic solid anchored by substantial stacked-stone corners.
The Cleveland Public Library collection numbers over 10 million items, and its primary downtown branch sees nearly a million visitors each year. Through affiliations with other library systems throughout northeast Ohio, the Library reaches out to a great many more Ohioans. Among the Libraries unique collections are its Public Administration Library (housed at Cleveland City Hall), 1.3 million photographs, a baseball collection, a theater collection, sizable rare book and children’s collections, and even a collection of chess and checkers sets.
Enjoy both the older main library and the newer Stokes Wing, as well as the sedate reading garden between.
- Cleveland Public Library, Memorial-Nottingham Branch...
Cleveland Public Library's Memorial-Nottingham Branch, Cleveland, Ohio The Memorial-Nottingham Branch of the Cleveland Public Library sits on a park-like site near the eastern fringe of the City of Cleveland, at 17109 Lake Shore Boulevard. The...
- Cleveland's Public Square
Examine the four square blocks at the cross-hairs of Cleveland's downtown that contain many of the landmark historical elements of this Midwest metropolis.
- Cleveland's 200 Public Square
Built as the North American headquarters of global energy giant BP, this high-rise in Cleveland is now home to local Huntington Bank.
- See Cleveland Now!
East Fourth Street This single block in downtown Cleveland offers comedy, bowling, martinis, blues, fine dining and loft living just minutes from Public Square, Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena. Fifth Third Bank Building Designed by the...
- Cleveland: A Cluster of Communities
Cleveland will never again be one of the largest metropolitan areas of the country — that is, not until it incorporates some of the many scores of small cities that ring and landlock it.
- Cleveland City Hall
This is but one of a half-dozen major public structures of Beaux-Arts styling that was built in conformance with Cleveland's first grand master plan of the early 20th Century.
- More Cleveland Sights
The Cleveland Institute of Music Recently expanded to include a fine new performance venue, The Cleveland Institute of Music is one of the many cultural institutions that populate University Circle, on Cleveland's East Side. Cleveland City Hall...
- Cleveland's Justice Center
Cleveland's Justice CenterOntario Street & Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio Lakeside Ave E & Ontario St, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA The City of Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Justice Center is a substantial development in neo-Brutalist...
- Cleveland Botanical Garden
Cleveland Botanical Garden Consisting initially of nothing more than a converted boathouse on Wade Park Lagoon in the University Circle area, the very first garden center in any American city was founded in Cleveland in 1930. In its early years, The.
- The Perry Payne Building, Cleveland, Ohio
This nine story structure of red stone and large windows has one of the more handsome façades of any in Cleveland's historic Warehouse District.
- Cleveland's Society for Savings Building
One of the first true skyscrapers of Cleveland looms above Public Square.
- Cleveland's Public Auditorium
Cleveland's Public Auditorium Situated in the heart of Clevelandâs business district is a concert venue that has hosted such royalty of rock as Queen, The Beatles, R.E.M. and Madonna. At its opening in 1922, the cityâs Public Auditorium was the..
More by this Author
This office tower forms its shard-like corner overlooking a sharp bend in the snake-like Cuyahoga River, on the banks of which Cleveland was originally founded.
One of the last great two-level, five-anchor regional Midwestern malls of the 1990s, Westfield SouthPark still thrives amid the dense commercial district of Strongsville, just southwest of Cleveland.
Optimize land use and parking convenience