Catherine C. and Thomas E. Huenefeld Story Center

New at the Downtown Main Library

The Catherine C. and Thomas E. Huenefeld Story Center

Visit Cincinnati's newest oral history center where you can view one-of-a-kind digital and physical exhibits, record your oral history, and have your historical artifacts digitally preserved by the Library's expert staff. 

Record Your Library Story This Weekend

As part of the Reopening Celebration of the Main Library, come share your library story in the Catherine C. and Thomas E. Huenefeld Story Center!

Visit the Library on Friday, July 12, 2024 and Saturday, July 13, 2024 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. and from 3-5 p.m. to share your favorite memories of the library on camera. Interviews will be 2-5 minutes long and will be used for an oral history video. Walk in and tell your story, no need to prepare or make an appointment! 

After opening weekend, the Story Center Studio will be open for oral history collection on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Call to schedule an appointment to record your longform Library Story or oral history. Contact the Cincinnati Story Center at 513-369-6909. 

Not sure how to tell or what to include in your library story? Check out CHPL's staff oral history video to watch staff tell their Library Stories for on the Library's YouTube channel.

Cincinnati's Destination for Oral History

The Catherine C. and Thomas E. Huenefeld Story Center features five 55’’ accessible touchscreens for customers of all ages and abilities to interact with. View curated digital exhibits, watch oral history videos, explore CHPL's Digital Library, opens a new window, and much more.

The Story Center is open during the Downtown Main Library's open hours. This space also features a public gallery, an oral history recording studio (available by appointment), and a staff-only digitization lab.

The Story Center also includes a dedicated Veteran’s History display with full-length videos from the Veteran’s History Project, a Veteran’s digital exhibit, and physical exhibits and displays with military memorabilia.

Partners and Projects

Beyond the walls of the Main Library, Story Center staff works with partners around Hamilton County to record the oral histories of our communities.

Story Center staff will be collecting oral histories with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, opens a new window as a companion to The Negro Motorist Green Book exhibition and panel on August 15, opens a new window. Panelists and participants will share their memories and experiences of using the Green Book as well as the joys and realities of Black travel. The resulting recordings will become a digital exhibit to be displayed in the Story Center.

The Legacy of Catherine C. and Thomas E. Huenefeld

Cathy and Tom Huenefeld were lifelong readers and passionate supporters of our public library. Cathy was a dedicated board member and volunteer with the Friends of the Public Library, opens a new window and Tom was a founding and long-served board member of The Library Foundation, opens a new window. In addition to their volunteerism and advocacy, they were both avid users of library services. They believed in the power of books, reading, and the importance of the library to benefit everyone in the community. Their devotion to Cincinnati and its history was built on the desire to position our region as the best place for everyone today, and tomorrow. We honor their commitment, service, and support by recognizing their generosity in a place Tom would treasure for research and Cathy would adore for its preservation of Cincinnati Stories.

Explore More at the Main Library

Journey through three floors and 540,000 square feet of books, movies, music, and more at the Main Library with new spaces and services for you to enjoy, including:

  • Redesigned spaces like meeting rooms and interactive areas for kids and teens
  • The new Catherine C. and Thomas E. Huenefeld Story Center to record and share history with future generations
  • Outdoor plazas with new public art and spaces to gather
  • Return of the beloved book sculpture 
  • Phronesis, a new large-scale light sculpture
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