Library breaks barriers with major upgrades, improvements in 2015

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County celebrated a record-breaking 2015—hitting 18,771,227 in circulation. It was a great year in a lot of ways. Here are all the new services our customers began to enjoy in 2015.

  1. Debuted the MakerSpace—In January, the Main Library’s MakerSpace opened, giving customers access to a wide array of high- and low-tech equipment, including 3D printers, a laser engraver, vinyl cutter/printer, recording booth, an audio station, a video station, a photography station, media conversion equipment, button makers, sewing machines, and more. 
  2. Opened three new branches—The new Clifton Branch opened in May. The historic 10,000-square-foot building replaced a 2,500-square-foot storefront location and includes RFID check-in, after-hours holds lockers, a dog water fountain, and a bike rack with an air pump. The new St. Bernard and Reading branch libraries opened in June. Both branches replaced and relocated former branches. The new Reading Branch is a 12,000-square-foot facility and the St. Bernard Branch spans 8,000 square feet. Both include RFID check-in, more public computers, Smart Boards, and MakerSpaces.
  3. Surpassed the 600,000 cardholder mark—In July, the Library surpassed the 600,000 cardholder mark. To date, 82 percent of Hamilton County residents have a Library card.
  4. Ranked as the fifth busiest library system in the nation—According to data in the Public Library Data Services (PLDS) statistical report, Library cardholders checked out more than 18 million items, making the Library the fifth busiest library system in the country.
  5. Recognized as a Five-Star Library—The Library Journal, the library field's leading professional publication, designated the Library —for the third year in a row —as a Five-Star Library. This year, the Library ranked second among libraries in the country in the $30+ million expenditure category and is one of only five libraries nationwide in its category to receive a Five-Star Library rating.
  6. Expanded Homework Help program— In September, the Library Foundation received a generous donation from the Marge & Charles J. Schott Foundation to help support the Library’s Homework Help service—a free service that provides homework help to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The program has been expanded to include 16 library branches for the 2015-2016 school year. Last school year, more than 10,000 students were served by Homework Helpers and use of the service grew by 13 percent.
  7. Added 10,000 new Library cards for students through ConnectEd Challenge—The Library increased the percentage of children with a Library card to 98 percent in response to the ConnectEd Library Challenge—a national challenge issued to schools and public libraries to strengthen student learning by improving access to digital content and public libraries.
  8. Launched personalized services—A new online tool for providing book recommendations, called “Book Hookup,” was launched in October. This service gives customers a unique online survey that captures their reading preferences. With this information, the Library selects three related items that customers can pick up at their convenience. Customers can also opt in to have items regularly selected for them. The Library also launched in November "My Librarian," a new personalized reference service. Customers may call their requests into the Library or submit their requests online. Requests are available for pick up from the Express Holds shelves or Main Library drive-through within a day.
  9. Unveiled new cases for Audubon’s Birds of AmericaThanks to generous support from a number of donors, all volumes of the Library’s rare Birds of America books by John James Audubon are now on display in the Cincinnati Room at the Main Library. This impressive four-volume set was unveiled in November. Unlike the previous case, which offered only one page for viewing at a time, the new display allows a page from each volume to be displayed concurrently. The Library is one of only 120 organizations in the world to have a complete set.

For more information about the Public Library and Cincinnati Hamilton County, call 513-369-6900 or visit