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Cleveland Public Library


Cleveland Public Library - Main Branch Reading Garden

Reading Garden of the Cleveland Public Library's Main Branch

(© 2006 S. Mitchell; Licensed to About. Inc.)
Cleveland Public Library - Fulton Avenue Branch

Cleveland Public Library - Fulton Avenue Branch - Ohio City

(© 2006 S. Mitchell; Licensed to About, Inc.)
Cleveland Public Library - Fleet Avenue Branch

Cleveland Public Library - Fleet Avenue Branch

(© 2006 S. Mitchell; Licensed to About. Inc.)

The Cleveland Public Library system, founded in 1869, includes the main downtown library as well as 28 branches scattered throughout the city. The library also participates in a network with other regional libraries to make those libraries' collections available to Cleveland Public Library cardholders.


The Cleveland Public Library was started in 1869, with the mission to be "the best urban library in the country." Its beginnings were humble; the first library was a single, rented room at W. 3rd and Superior.

The Main Library:

Cleveland's Main Library is located on Superior Avenue at 3rd Street in downtown Cleveland. The Classical Revival main building, designed by the firm of Walker and Weeks, opened in 1923. A second building, the adjacent Carl Stokes Building, opened in 1997. Together they form 529,000-square feet of space. A delightful and peaceful reading garden sits between the two buildings.

Branch Libraries:

The 28 Cleveland Public Library branches include: Addison, Broadway, Brooklyn, Carnegie West, Collinwood, E. 131st St., Eastman, Fleet Ave., Fulton, Garden Valley, Glenville, Harvard-Lee, Hough, Jefferson, Langston Hughes, Lorain, Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial-Nottingham, Mt. Pleasant, Rice, Rockport, South, South Brooklyn, Sterling, Union, Waltz, West Park, Woodland.

Facilities vary widely among branches. All branches have computer access, free WiFi access, and offer DVDs, CDs, and Blue-Ray Discs.

CPL Online:

Cleveland Public Library cardholders are able to access the entire CLEVNET library system's holdings online. You can place a hold on circulating items and have them delivered for pick up at your local branch. You can also request new items and renew items you have checked out.

How to Get a Cleveland Public Library Card:

A Cleveland Public Library Card is required to check out library materials and to access the library's online database. FREE cards are offered to Ohio residents as well as to Cleveland-based companies. Temporary cards are offered to temporary visitors who expect to remain in the city at least six weeks.

To obtain a card, you must apply in person to the main library or one of the 28 branches listed above. Adults must show a photo ID that contains their current address. Applicants 14-17 should give their social security number and show a report card. Younger applicants need only print their name, social security number, address, and birth date.

The Library's Collection:

The Cleveland Public Library's circulation includes more than 10 million books, tapes, DVDs, and CDs. In addition, the library's holdings include 1.3 million photographs and a 74,000 rare book collection. Specialty collections include the Cleveland Theater History Collection, the Mears and Maddock Baseball Collection, and the John G. White Chess and Checkers Collection.

Events at the Cleveland Public Library:

The library hosts a huge variety of events -- something every day -- at the main library and around the branches. Events include the twice-annual "Friends of the Library" book sales, book readers, children's story hours, and lectures. A complete schedule may be found on the library's website.


Begun in 1982, the CLEVNET system is a consortium of 31 Northeast Ohio library systems in nine counties, covering the area from Sandusky to Madison. Cleveland Public Library cardholders may search these member libraries' collections and request items from them through the Cleveland Public Library website and circulation desks.

Visiting the Cleveland Public Library
Cleveland's main library is open seven days a week. Most branch libraries are closed on Sundays, but are open late at least one evening per week.

All Cleveland Public Library buildings are non-smoking facilities. Library patrons are requested not to bring large bags or packages into the library building and to maintain a quiet atmosphere. Children under 6 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

Library Late Fees
Books carry a 10 cents per day late fee. Research material and audio and visual media items are $1 per late day. Children's items and those checked out by senior (over 60) cardholders do not carry a fee.

Cleveland Public Library Services
The Cleveland Public Library offers a variety of community services. Among these are the "Bookmobile" traveling library, homebound book pickup and delivery, the Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, and the Cleveland Research Center, a fee based service that will research corporate, patent, grant, and other similar information.

(last updated 10-18-12)

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