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Cincinnati's Main Library reopens with new indoor and outdoor spaces

exterior of brick building. wording says Cincinnati Public Library.
Bill Rinehart
/
WVXU
The Main Library reopens Friday, July 12.

The Cincinnati & Hamilton County Main Library reopens Friday. It's been undergoing renovations including new at-grade entrances, updated meeting rooms and interactive areas for kids and teens, as well as an energy retrofit and roof replacement.

The total project was estimated at $43.4 million.

The new atrium at the renovated Main Library.
Courtesy
/
Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library
The new atrium at the renovated Main Library.

A reopening celebration is set for July 12-14. Events include a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, guided tours, pickleball, crafts, story times, and more.

"We are thrilled to be welcoming the community back to the fully Opened main library. It is a transformative generational change that will reinforce the main library as a destination for minds of all kinds," Director Paula Brehm-Heeger tells WVXU. "We are in a great spot along the backbone of downtown to contribute to the ongoing development of the area, from The Banks to Fountain Square up to OTR."

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The South Building closed in 2021 for renovations. Work done there includes replacing the skylights and elevators, and a redesigned plaza. The building's 1950s-era energy systems — heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) and electrical systems — were retrofitted in 2020.

exterior of a brick building with sidewalks, trees and grass.
Courtesy
/
Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library
The refreshed North Plaza.

The work is part of the library system's 10-year master plan, designed to update and improve facilities across the county. Renovations and improvements are continuing at several branch locations, too. Voters approved a one-mill levy in 2018 to fund work at many of the 41 locations.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.