First five projects in Public Library’s Facility Master Plan kick off in 2020

After more than a year of community feedback from over 3,000 Hamilton County residents at 90 listening sessions and meetings, 15 focus groups, and online surveys, Group 4 Architecture, Research + Planning, Inc., opens a new window made its recommendations for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s Facility Master Plan (FMP) to the Library Board of Trustees at their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10. The Board voted to accept the plan, which provides the Library with recommendations and a strategic direction for upgrading every facility over the next 10 years.

The Executive Summary and overall recommendations can be viewed at Two additional sections of the plan, which provide branch-by-branch information and an overall timeline, are being finalized this month and publicly available in January.

Every branch has been evaluated, and recommendations — for both small and large improvements— were created based on available funding and each location’s level of need. The plan does not recommend any consolidations or closures. Every branch as well as the Downtown Main Library will receive improvements over the next 10 years, in one of three categories:

  • Strategic Investment—small, but impactful, improvements, such as laptop kiosks, maker carts and study pods
  • Capital Maintenance—replacement and repair work, such as HVAC, furniture, roofing and carpeting
  • Design—significant improvements, such as major renovations, expansions or relocations

The Library is implementing five new projects right away at various locations as part of the FMP, including three Design projects: the Price Hill and Walnut Hills Branch Libraries will be renovated and expanded, and the Vine Street entrance of the Downtown Main Library will be reconfigured. The Elmwood Place Branch Library is undergoing a Capital Maintenance project that will provide new carpet, furniture and paint for the branch; and the Reading Branch Library is receiving Strategic Investment focused on upgrading technology, beginning with the installation of a laptop kiosk.

“Our vision was to create a Library system that serves our community in the ways that they need and want,” said Paula Brehm-Heeger, the Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director of the Library. “This plan incorporates ideas and input from more than 3,000 community members. We will continue the dialogue with our customers as we move forward with implementing the Facility Master Plan and Building the Next Generation Library.”

At the start of the planning process, the Library Board of Trustees named six guiding principles for the plan: maximize access, customer focus, diversity and inclusion, industry-leading experience, operational sustainability and transparency. Approximately $142 - $157 million of the funds being used for facilities improvements comes from the 1 mil levy that passed in 2018, which is providing up to $190 million in 10 installments to the Library.

To learn more and stay up-to-date on the project, go to