Written by Joe Armstrong, Content Specialist, Marketing, Downtown Main Library
The expanded and renovated Walnut Hills Branch Library is now open and is still bustling with new energy and excitement after the packed Grand Reopening on October 20, 2022!
For those who can’t wait to visit the branch, which now has expanded hours, opens a new window, take this virtual tour highlighting the many new features, expanded spaces, and historic restorations at this one-of-a-kind library.
After over a year of construction, the Walnut Hills Branch at 2533 Kemper Lane has reopened. See construction photos, updates, and recorded community presentations on our Next Generation Library page, opens a new window.
The new Walnut Hills Branch is conveniently located in the heart of Walnut Hills along Metro bus routes 1, 4, 11, and 31.
For those driving to the branch, a new 44 spot parking lot dedicated for CHPL customers is located across from the building. Ample street parking is also available along Kemper Lane.
The old entrance to the branch has been moved, giving the existing Carnegie building the spotlight for its original show-stopping architecture from 1906 featuring original twin columns from Munich, Germany.
The branch’s new entrance is fully accessible, has a bike rack, and book and materials return drop for customers to return their items 24 hours a day.
The entrance ramp to the branch is a gentle slope, featuring new lighting and landscaping.
At the entrance to the branch is the Marketplace, where customers can find featured materials from our collection, information about upcoming events, and find assistance from CHPL staff. This new space connects the existing building to the new expansion with sightlines throughout the entire building.
In the center of the Marketplace, browse the entire floorplan of the new branch. With an entirely redesigned layout and nearly doubling in size, there’s lots of changes in the building to explore.
The first area outside of the Marketplace is the new teen space. We already anticipate these new comfortable chairs to be a popular spot to hang out with friends.
The teen space features brand new furniture, including tables, chairs, and shelves. With materials organized by signage in both English and Spanish.
Another popular spot in the teen space will be the gaming area complete with consoles and games available to play for free.
The Walnut Hills Branch is also home to technology found nowhere else at CHPL. Our library system’s first tablet kiosk allows customers to check out one of twelve iPads to use within the building.
Past the Teen area is the colorful children’s space complete with new comfy seating, play equipment, and storytime stage.
Heading back to the front entrance and Marketplace and turning towards the existing building, customers are met with a breathtaking view of their old branch. While there is plenty of new carpeting, shelving, and furniture to admire, a new light fixture made by Jessica Wolf is sure to be the first thing customers notice.
Titled Miró’s Dream, the light fixture is inspired by Joan Miró’s Mural for Cincinnati’s Terrace Plaza, a cloud-like form dances with vibrant energy and color. Miró would often close his eyes to imagine shapes and contours in a stream-of-consciousness daydream. The organic nature of the sculpture allows the viewer to manifest images from the simple to the surreal. Filling the space that connects the historic Carnegie Library building to the branch’s modern, new expansion, “Miró’s Dream” acts as a bridge between the old and the new; the past and the future. Look closely to see if you can find forms in your surroundings that are reflected in the artwork.
The existing building is now the adult space, with much of the building’s original woodwork restored to its former glory, including these shelves with materials for customers to browse.
Another first to CHPL is the branch’s Library of Things. Starting as a seed bank for customers to take and exchange plant seeds, the Library of Things plans to be a community resource for residents to learn about and grow healthy foods and beautiful landscapes.
The adult space features new furniture where customers can browse materials, admire the building, and catch up with friends and family.
Dozens of new computer stations are scattered across the building free for customers to use, as well as seven reservable study and meeting rooms.
Another another popular area in the adult space features an original tile mosaic of the City of Cincinnati seal uncovered during construction.
The mosaic, along with many other historic elements preserved in the existing Carnegie building, will make this branch a must-see for history buffs.
New fully accessible restrooms are on the main and lower floors of the building.
Rounding out the virtual tour by taking the elevator or stairs to the building’s lower level, customers will find the branch’s community room, able to hold events and gatherings for up to 99 people.
With twin displays, seating, tables, and a kitchen, this community room is sure have a busy schedule of community events throughout the year.
This virtual tour is just a peek at the Walnut Hills Branch Library. Check out everything for yourself, including some places we didn't cover, including the branch's two, 24-bay laptop kiosks and the main floor's large meeting room.
Your New Next Generation Big Library
The Walnut Hills Branch project was made possible through the generous support of Hamilton County as a result of 1 mill levy that was passed in May 2018. With the building received its first major improvements since its construction over a century ago, the Walnut Hills Branch reopens as an anchor for the community with services, materials, and gathering spaces for generations to come.
What is your favorite part of the renovated and expanded Walnut Hills Branch Library? Let us know in the comments below!