Written by Joe Armstrong, Content Specialist, Marketing, Downtown Main Library
This past year was full of exciting changes thanks to our Building the Next Generation Library project. These projects included the expansion and renovation of the Price Hill Branch Library, opens a new window, refresh of the Anderson Branch Library, opens a new window, and a new 25,000 square foot home for the Deer Park Branch Library, opens a new window. And 2022 is looking to have just as many exciting updates for customers to explore and enjoy!
Major Improvements Continue at the Downtown Main Library
At the Downtown Main Library, work is wrapping up on the North Plaza along 9th and Vine streets. This open, equitable, and at-grade public plaza was originally walled and closed off from the sidewalk and will now be a place for community members to gather and discover together. Featuring green space, mature magnolia trees, additional lighting, and an art wall, we can’t wait to see customers create and explore in this space.
Work is also nearly complete on the skylight above the main atrium in the south building. After a complete replacement, necessary because it was at the end of its usable lifespan, this new skylight will provide plenty of natural light for visitors to enjoy, once the South Building reopens in late 2023.
Reimagining the Downtown Main Library
The progress on the Downtown Main Library, opens a new window continues with multiple improvements planned for the first floor and plaza of South Building over the two upcoming years, all part of the Library’s Facility Master Plan, opens a new window (FMP) During the FMP development process in 2019, community and staff were sought out to give feedback to inform the design. We heard from the community that they wanted us to activate the outdoor spaces, provide more spaces for meeting and gathering, bring services for adults and youth together in one building, and create an overall environment that was safe and welcoming. The changes taking place are focused on this feedback.
Extending the open space across from the newly-completed North Plaza, work is starting now on the South Plaza along 9th and Vine Streets. Similar to the work across the street, this revitalized plaza will be at-grade, featuring plenty of accessible space for community members to explore. Complete with power hookups for mobile vehicles, we’re expecting this space to be a popular place for gatherings and events for visitors of all ages.
What is certain to catch visitors’ eyes is a new, permanent art installation by artist Jen Lewin, opens a new window, whose work was featured in Cincinnati’s first BLINK festival. Preliminary renderings show groups of stainless-steel pillars, that will illuminate the plaza.
Work will extend inside the Downtown Main Library as well in 2022 with the first floor of the South Building’s redesign. Most notably, new community meeting rooms, gathering spaces and elevators, and a social stair inviting visitors to explore beyond the first floor.
A Community Story Center, showcasing stories and ephemera from community members throughout the county, will be created on the second floor. We’re excited to see generations coming together to make new discoveries about their families, community, and more.
A portion of the South Building facing Vine St. is being reimagined with floor-to-ceiling windows welcoming community members from the South Plaza, an inter-generational branch with adult, teen and kids’ areas so the entire family can explore the Library without having to separate into different parts of the buildings. More meeting space is being added through flexible community rooms available for customers to reserve and use.
Work is currently starting on these improvements and is planned to be complete in late 2023. Watch the video below for more details on what’s to come at the Main Library as part of the Next Generation Library initiative in a recording of our January information session.
The Facility Master Plan is bringing improvements to all 41 locations over a ten-year period. We heard from the community that they’d like us to focus our resources on revitalizing the branches. Find out what’s going on at locations beyond the Downtown Main Library by visiting our Next Generation Library webpage, opens a new window.
Visit Main’s North Building During Construction
We appreciate your patience while we work to transform portions of the Downtown Main Library. All library services continue inside the Downtown Main Library's North Building during construction and the drive-thru on Ninth Street remains open. Learn more about our temporarily re-arranged spaces in this blog post, opens a new window.
What are you most looking forward to in your Next Generation Library? Let us know by commenting below. And don’t miss a thing by visiting our website, opens a new window to view updates as we move forward with our Facilities Master Plan.