Cincinnati Library receives national award for tech upgrade

The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) announced the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library (CHPL) as an Innovations Initiative Honorable Mention award winner during the 2020 ULC Innovations Celebration held virtually on Dec. 11. The annual Innovations award program recognizes and raises the visibility of cutting-edge programs, strategies, tools, techniques, and ideas from ULC’s member library systems across the U.S. and Canada.

CHPL was selected by a panel of expert judges from 260 submissions in 10 categories that showcase creative thinking and imaginative applications of library resources. CHPL won for Expanded Access to Technology: Courtyard Upgrade in the category of Customer Experience, with award winners being recognized for their level of ingenuity, the outcomes achieved, and the ability for other libraries to adapt and implement their work. All 2020 ULC Innovations entries can be viewed at

“This year’s winners have quickly taken bold moves to ensure that the library continues to serve the needs of the people in their community – especially those most vulnerable including children, stressed families, isolated seniors, and struggling small businesses,” said Urban Libraries Council President and CEO Susan Benton. “In the 10th year of our Innovations Initiative, we received the most dynamic and cutting-edge submissions to date. We celebrate the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library for creating an initiative that will positively impact their community and serve as a model to public libraries throughout North America.”

Earlier this year, FC Cincinnati Foundation (FCCF) donated funds to help the Library renovate the walled-in outdoor area just off the adult space at the West End Branch. The courtyard is open and accessible with space for individuals and families to enjoy. Funding from the FCCF underwrote new technology solutions for customer use in the courtyard and throughout the branch. Now a laptop cart enables customers to check out a laptop for a 60-minute computer session.

“This award is very significant to us, especially receiving it during a year when we’ve been challenged with providing services during a pandemic. We are so grateful to the FC Cincinnati Foundation in partnering with us to upgrade access to technology at a critical time for our West End customers,” said Paula Brehm-Heeger, the Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director of the Library.

“The FC Cincinnati Foundation was pleased to support such an important project to help provide technology and connection in the West End neighborhood during the pandemic and into the future. We are thrilled to hear that they have been recognized by ULC for this project and we look forward to continuing to collaborate on projects in the West End and the greater community,” said Kate Solomon, vice president of community relations, executive director for FC Cincinnati Foundation.

About Urban Libraries Council

The Urban Libraries Council is an innovation and impact tank of North America’s leading public library systems. ULC drives cutting-edge research and strategic partnerships to elevate the power of libraries as essential, transformative institutions for the 21st century. More than 150 urban member libraries in the U.S. and Canada rely on ULC to identify significant challenges facing today’s communities and provide new tools and techniques to help libraries achieve stronger outcomes in education, digital equity, workforce and economic development, and race and social equity.

Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library has been cultivating curiosity from the moment we first opened our doors in 1853. Since then, we have evolved into one of the biggest and busiest libraries in the country: supporting minds of all kinds who seek to unlock their full potential. With 41 neighborhood branches, a vast range of programming and ever-growing collection of virtual resources, we're proud to be a place where everyone can learn without limits. To learn more, visit or call 513-369-6900.