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What do the Main Library managers think?

We asked them to pick out some of things they really love about the “new” Main Library. Here’s what they had to say:

  • I like that the sitting areas are now close to all the floor-to-ceiling windows. All the natural light creates a much warmer and inviting environment.
  • I LOVE self check. That is where I head when I’m in a store and now we have it at the Library!
  • The self-check machines truly have eliminated long lines at the checkout desk. Many people have caught on to how the machines work, and I have observed many customers enjoy the process.
  • I am so excited that we will have the ability to better serve our children with their homework needs with the Homework Central. And bringing in the community to be volunteer tutors is a great way for people to learn about the challenges our young people face in school and to contribute in a real way to these students’ success.
  • I know it isn’t finished just yet, but the paint from Homework Central and the TeenSpot is really striking when you walk or drive west up 9th street. The building just looks so alive now and the wonderful glass windows really show off the great stuff that will soon be inside.
  • Bring on the teens and let them congregate and socialize in an environment that welcomes them and understands their needs and expectations! I can’t wait to see TeenSpot in ACTION!
  • I love the way the shelves in the Popular Library are arranged so that customers can easily browse in genres. I also think the new desk is fantastic and the openness of the area is striking, both with the glass walls gone from the films area and the open seating area on the corner of Vine and 8th.
  • The Popular Library is an incredible space—I call it our own little Barnes & Noble within the library. Fiction, movies, and music—along with a nice little area to relax, sit and read. Wonderful!
  • I must also say that the fact that we now accept credit card payment TRULY makes us a library for the 21st century!
  • The Tech Center, with the Microsoft Office products, and the ability to download things, is awesome. It’s already a major draw!
  • There are lots more areas for displays!! Also, the little things, such as having the copiers closer to the service desk so we can help our customers more quickly. It’s great having a special area for the government documents and our beautiful coffee table books.
February 2008

What’s New · Main Library Transformation

Have you visited the Main Library recently? If you haven’t, we hope you’ll make a trip downtown soon—the Main Library has undergone a major transformation over the past five months! These changes have been taking place in support of “Main Library for the 21st Century,” a dynamic new service model that emphasizes convenience and increased access to services and technology.

What does this mean for our customers?

We’ve made a number of changes to create a more welcoming environment for Main Library customers. One of the first things you’ll notice is that all of the public areas have been repainted in vibrant new colors. New carpeting has been laid throughout the building. And shelving has been moved away from the windows so we could create light-filled reading and study areas.

We’ve also reorganized departments in the building in order to make it easier for you to use our collections and services.



New Departments

  • Designed to be a one-stop shopping experience, the Popular Library offers customers centralized reference and reader’s advisory services, along with quick and convenient check out of materials. Their collection includes fiction and international language fiction, movies and documentaries, television shows; audiobooks, graphic novels; large print titles; English as a Second Language material, and a comprehensive collection of music CDs. Next to the department’s Reading Lounge, you’ll find a wide array of new nonfiction titles and a selection of circulating magazines. Plenty of self-service checkout machines are located in the department as well.
The Popular Library service desk
The Popular Library service desk
The department’s “New Fiction” shelves
The department’s “New Fiction” shelves
  • The TechCenter is an invaluable resource for cutting edge technology. Whether you want to learn to type, establish a free email account, write a resume, search for jobs online, download and listen to music, or edit a home movie, the TechCenter has the resources you need. The department houses nearly 100 computers which support: accessing the Internet, our Catalog and database collection; utilizing productivity software (including Microsoft Office); playing Library CDs and DVDs; downloading digital books, audiobooks, videos, and music; and burning CDs and DVDs. The complete list of software applications available on TechCenter computers is online.
The TechCenter is always humming with activity
The TechCenter is always humming with activity
Experienced staff are available to offer suggestions and assistance
Experienced staff are available to offer suggestions and assistance
  • Under the new model, resources previously divided among five departments have been drawn together into the Information and Reference Department. You’ll find expert reference assistance from staff at the department’s 2nd floor service desk and the “roving reference” staff on the 3rd floor. The department’s extensive nonfiction collection encompasses a wide cross-section of subjects including: religion, cooking, gardening, health and medicine, parenting, car repair, business, computers, investments, jobs, art, crafts, literary criticism, biographies, history, travel, popular culture, and current events. You’ll also find the Grants, Careers, Small Business, and Public Documents Resource Centers in the Information and Reference Department.
The Information and Reference Department service desk
The Information and Reference Department service desk
The Small Business Resource Center
The Small Business Resource Center
  • The Genealogy and Local History Department brings together resources previously divided among various Main Library subject departments. All local history resources, including those on Rookwood Pottery, the Cincinnati Reds, early pioneers, and 19th century police reports now reside in one location. The department also houses one of the nation’s largest and oldest genealogy collections. The Cincinnati Room, adjacent to the Genealogy and Local History Department, displays local history artifacts and provides a climate-controlled and secure environment for using the Library’s rare and fragile materials.
The Genealogy and Local History Department service desk
The Genealogy and Local History Department service desk
Lots of genealogical material has been moved from the stacks into the public area
Lots of genealogical material has been moved from the stacks into the public area
  • TeenSpot is a new department designed to exclusively support the information, reading, entertainment, and technology needs of the Main Library’s many teen visitors. The layout of the nearly 8,000 square foot department is designed to be a welcoming and inviting environment for teenagers in our community. It’s the result of collaboration between architects, planners, library staff, and area teens, who participated in focus groups. The TeenSpot will offer a wide variety of reading material and computers and will provide access to many of the same software applications (including Microsoft Office) available in the TechCenter.
Check out the great carpeting and views from the windows!
Check out the great carpeting and views from the windows!
TeenSpot staff putting books on the shelves
TeenSpot staff putting books on the shelves
  • Homework Central is another new department that allows us to connect with students in new and exciting ways, as well as collaborate with teachers and school administrators to enhance the learning environment. Homework Central offers Hamilton County primary and secondary students the opportunity to receive homework assistance—in person, by phone, email and the Internet—in a safe, nurturing environment. Students can access a collection of reference material that supports their academic pursuits and computers which can be used for working on homework or school assignments.
Miriam McKenney, Homework Central Manager
Miriam McKenney, Homework Central Manager
The Homework Central Department
The Homework Central Department

More Convenience

We’ve also added a few new services to make it even easier for customers to use the Main Library.

  • Self-service checkout machines have been installed in the Atrium of the South Building and in the Popular Library.
  • As an added convenience, these machines accept credit cards so you don’t have to worry about paying overdue fines with cash or a check.
  • You can now pick up your material from the Express Holds shelves instead of waiting in line at the Circulation Services desk! You’ll find the Express Holds shelves in the Atrium of the South Building.
A customer using one of the self-service checkout machines
A customer using one of the self-service checkout machines
The Express Holds area
The Express Holds area

Signs of Success

Despite the chaos and disruption associated with the remodeling, we’re already starting to see some encouraging signs of success. Main Library circulation increased during the months of November and December. We believe that this increase is an early indicator that Main Library customers are now finding it easier to locate material.

View of one of the study areas on the 3rd floor
View of one of the study areas on the 3rd floor
Study and reading area on the 3rd floor
Study and reading area on the 3rd floor

What do you think?

Have you been downtown since some of the changes at the Main Library have taken place? Send us your comments—we’d love to know what you think!

I have visited the library on numerous occasions during the process and I am pleased with the new changes. The library is an invaluable tool for the community and it’s exciting to see and experience the “growing pains” associated with broadening the services offered to patrons. Thanks for the enhancements and I look forward to the Open House week in Feb!—Carissa

Video tours

Through a partnership with CET, we’re pleased to offer the following streaming video tours of the “new” Main Library. Learn more about some of the exciting changes we’ve implemented!

  • Kim Fender, the Library’s Executive Director, describes the “Main Library for the 21st Century” initiative. Watch the video
  • Main Library Manager Greg Edwards explains how the changes at the Main Library will affect your library experience. Watch the video
  • Popular Libary Manager David Siders takes you on a guided tour of this newly created space and describes some of the many kinds of material to be found there. Watch the video
  • Genealogy and Local History Department Manager Patricia Van Skaik and find out about this exciting new research department. Watch the video
  • TechCenter Manager Sean Mullin takes you on a tour of his department and talks about some of the technology-related services and resources you’ll find there. Watch the video
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