Library hires company to put together facilities master plan

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is hiring a design firm with experience in public library planning to lead the development of a facilities master plan. This plan is going to serve as a road map the library can follow when re-envisioning how best to serve the county through its 41 locations. At a meeting Dec. 11, the Library Board of Trustees approved the hiring of Group 4 Architecture, Research +Planning (Group 4).

The Facilities Master Plan is being developed throughout 2019 and serves as a guide for using funds from a 1-mill levy approved by Hamilton County voters this May. Robust input from the community and library staff is an essential piece of the planning process. The library and Group 4 is working with Design Impact, a Cincinnati-based company, to help facilitate future community and stakeholder engagement. Group 4 and Design Impact previously led community and stakeholder listening sessions in September and November to gather ideas for re-envisioning the Main Library’s atrium space and the Price Hill Branch.

Group 4 is based in San Francisco. Their body of work includes extensive work with the Dayton Metro (OH) Library, Multnomah County Library (OR), Johnson County (KS) Library, Jefferson County (CO) Public Library as well as libraries in Carlsbad, Calif., and San Francisco. The Library hired Group Four in August on a short-term contract to establish guiding planning principles used to create a framework for the facilities master plan.

“Group 4 was chosen from a list of firms because of their experience working with other public libraries and groups,” said Paula Brehm-Heeger, the Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director of the Library. “Their approach is open and collaborative. They’re experts at asking the right questions to make sure the community’s needs and wants are met. We had a great experience during the Group 4-led listening sessions this fall, and we are excited to continue this process with their guidance.”

During the 2019 planning process, the Library also is moving forward with three facilities projects, including re-envisioning the Madisonville, Price Hill, and Walnut Hills branches to ensure they are accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.

The Price Hill Branch is the priority accessibility project due to significant ceiling damage, which led to a complete branch closure July 3. The branch is temporarily relocated in the Price Hill Recreation Center. Along with re-envisioning how system-wide facilities and services, other facility improvement priorities are being identified through the process of developing the Facilities Master Plan, which are being shared with the public once it’s completed.

For more information about the facilities project, please visit and click on “About Us” or call 513-369-6900.