Main Library Project


Library Project

Status: Phase 1 construction in progress
Estimated completion: Expected Fall 2023 (Phases 1 and 2)
Facility Master Plan category: Big Next Generation Library
Estimated investment (approximate): To be determined

The Downtown Main Library's North Building remains open for library service during Phase 1 construction on the South Building. Learn where to find services and materials during construction.

Update on 9/25/21: The Main Library's South Building is closed for an 18-month renovation. Visit the North Building for materials and services.

At 540,000 square feet, the Downtown Main Library is the Library's flagship location, accounting for about half of the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library's public space. In December 2017, the Library Board of Trustees confirmed the desire to retain the Downtown Main Library's North Building, and to have both buildings of the Downtown Main Library re-envisioned to better meet customer needs. Improvement information is contained in the Central Planning Zone Facility Master Plan Document.

Phase 1 construction is underway as of June 2021:

Skylight Replacement and Elevator Replacement

In 2021, the South Building atrium skylight is being replaced, and some of the elevators at the Downtown Main Library are being replaced.

Main Library Plaza Redesign and Interior Refresh

The plaza will be lowered to street level to create a safer and more welcoming entrance on Vine St., and portions of the interior of the library will receive a light renovation.

Designed by Group 4 Architecture + Champlin Architecture, the CHPL Main Library renovation injects the cultural and geographic landscapes of Cincinnati and Hamilton County into the existing mid-century modern Main Library.

At the exterior, a new, at-grade plaza and large glass curtainwall welcomes library users into the revitalized atrium and expresses the wonderful range of library spaces within. Upon entering the atrium, an inviting and warm social stair knits together the Walnut Street and Vine Street entrances while providing a range of seating opportunities for individuals, small groups, and large events. Inspired by the hills of Cincinnati, this welcoming design provides new amenities and gathering spaces, as well as an intuitive connection to the upper floors of the library, accessed through a new stair extending from the second floor upwards.

In 2020, the following projects were completed: replacement of original boilers, upgrades to the cooling system, addition of a fire suppression system, and improvements to the electrical system, all in the South Building.

Check this page often for project updates.

Construction Gallery

Project Updates

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