Main Library

Main Library CampusMain Library

325 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114

Louis Stokes Wing

525 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114

Phone: (216) 623-2800
Fax: (216) 623-7015
Email: information@cplorg.bigscoots-staging.com
Manager: Robin Wood (Senior Director of Public Services – Main Library)

There are on-street parking meters available on East 6th between St. Clair and Superior (including designated handicapped spaces) and nearby paid parking garages.

Library Hours

Day of the WeekHours
Monday – Saturday10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
SundayClosed

Drive-Up Window

Day of the WeekHours
Monday – Friday7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
SundayClosed

Cleveland Public Library offers full service at the drive-up window located at the rear of the Louis Stokes Wing on Rockwell Avenue, just west of East 6th Street.

Use the drive-up window to check out and return books, magazines, and audio/video recordings–even to sign up for a library card! You can have books and other materials sent to the drive-up window for pick-up by selecting “CLEVELAND Main Drive-Up Window” when placing a reserve in the Library’s online catalog. Otherwise, patrons may phone ahead to any of the Main Library subject departments and request that library materials be sent to the drive-up window (please allot enough time for library staff to bring your materials to the drive-up window).

History

The Main Library in downtown Cleveland consists of the historic Main Library Building built in 1925 and renovated in 1999; the Louis Stokes Wing completed in 1997; and the Eastman Reading Garden located between the two buildings. The two buildings and the garden take up an entire city block on Superior Avenue between East 3rd Street and East 6th Street. The Main Library’s Subject Departments are divided between the two buildings.

Cleveland Public Library first opened as a “Public School Library” for the Cleveland Board of Education in 1869. It was the first large public library to allow people to select their own books directly from its bookshelves. For 56 years, the Library was in a series of temporary and rented spaces. In 1925, Main Library opened to the public in a new building designed by the Cleveland architectural firm of Walker & Weeks. The new Main Library proved to be immensely popular: The original estimate of 5,000 daily users was soon eclipsed; by the early 1930s, more than 12,000 individuals walked through the doors every day.

By the 1950s, the Main Library’s collection had tripled in size and the Library was short on space. In November 1957, voters approved a $3 million bond issue for the Library to purchase and renovate the six-story building that was the former location of The Plain Dealer.

The succeeding decades were difficult times for both Cleveland and its public library system. Increased migration to the suburbs led to a decline in the city’s population and resources. During this time, circulation at the Main Library and its neighborhood branches declined dramatically; from a high of 10,374,652 in 1932 to 3,402,050 in 1970. Funds for the purchase of new books and materials, as well as for the maintenance of library buildings decreased.

The last quarter of the 20th century has seen dramatic improvements in the Library’s fortunes. Due to the vision and perseverance of key staff and influential directors, the Library not only reversed its downward trend but became strongly positioned to meet the challenges of the 21st century. In 1975, the library built and renovated neighborhood branches while streamlining the Library’s operations. By 1981, the card catalog was fully computerized.

By the late 1980s, after the Library had completed the renovation of its neighborhood branches, attention turned to the Main Library downtown, where outmoded mechanical and electrical systems were posing a hazard to the public, the staff, and the collections. In November 1991, by a 71% majority, voters approved a $90 million bond issue to go forward with a plan for collection preservation, new technology, and renovation.

An entirely new downtown building was dedicated on April 12, 1997. With eleven floors, including the lower level, the new 267,000-square-foot building has more than 30 miles of bookshelves–enough for 1.3 million books and is equipped with the latest electronic resources. The new building is named for Cleveland native Louis Stokes, who, in 1968, became the first African-American elected to the U.S. Congress from Ohio. During his illustrious career, Representative Stokes helped found the Congressional Black Caucus, and he became the first black member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He was re-elected fourteen times before retiring in 1998.

The $24 million renovations of the landmark Main Building called for a sensitivity to the building’s architectural integrity while incorporating new technologies. Electrical, plumbing, and ventilation systems were replaced. Modern fire safety systems, including sprinklers, were installed, and trenches were cut into the cement floors to accommodate wiring for new computer and electrical equipment. New mechanical machinery was placed out of sight in the basement, returning its court to an uncluttered and light-filled state. As part of the architects’ goal of returning the building to its original luster, historic ceiling finishes were restored, the exterior marble was cleaned, historical light fixtures were restored and rewired, decorative metalwork was repaired and polished, and the original leather doors were rejuvenated. For the first time in decades, the Main Building’s historic spaces and architectural details can be fully appreciated, while featuring many technological advances and conveniences.

Demonstrating the Library’s continuing support for the visual arts, the Library Board commissioned a substantial collection of permanent art to be included in the buildings and garden. Thirteen artists of local and national reputation created original art for the Main Library, the Louis Stokes Wing and the Eastman Reading Garden. Selected by a jury coordinated with the Committee for Public Art, the artworks are significant additions to the Library’s and the city’s artistic heritage. The new art at the Main Library was made possible largely by generous grants from Cleveland foundations, corporations, and nonprofit groups.

Today, the Cleveland Public Library circulates one of the largest and most extensive collections in the country, boasting close to ten million items.

Upcoming events

    Event For adults
  • TechCentral MakerMonday Summer Fun Direct-to-Garment Printing: Summer Solstice T-Shirts & Totes

    Main Library (Downtown), 2nd Floor – Conference C
    Monday, June 17 | 11 am

    Join TechCentral's Makers as we explore using the equipment in MakerSpace to create some cool projects. Patrons will meet in a classroom for a focused lesson on using the featured equipment. These focused projects will guide you through selecting, designing, and making our themed project for the day.  

    Patrons will participate in the event’s activities and complete the designated project. 

    The class size is limited to 10 individuals, and registration is required due to limited materials. 

     

     

  • Word Workshops III

    Main Library (Downtown), 2nd Floor – Conference C
    Tuesday, June 18 | 11 am

    Become proficient in the everyday, academic, and work-related use of Microsoft Word.

    Word Workshops – First Workshop

    Become acquainted with the Word Interface; select and format the appearance of text.

    Word Workshops – Second Workshop

    Change the alignment of paragraphs of text; apply bullets or numbering to lists.

    Word Workshops – Third Workshop

    Refine tables and graphics.

    Word Workshops – Fourth Workshop

    Add headers, footers, and page numbers to a document; learn a variety of keyboard shortcuts that will save you time and energy when creating a Word document.

    Word Workshops – Supplemental Workshop

    An overview of more advanced Word skills, including: source citation; foot– and endnotes; and text styles.

    Notes:

    It is not necessary to attend the Workshops in order.

    TechCentral will present the Supplemental Workshop if there is a fifth week in the month. You may request that Supplemental Workshop’s instructional material via one of the contact methods below.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact TechCentral at (216) 623-2980, Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM; or by email at tech.central@cpl.org.

  • Event For adults
  • Sports History Theater

    Main Library (Downtown), 5th Floor – Sports Research Center
    Tuesday, June 18 | 12 pm

    Gather with fellow sports fans on the first and third Tuesdays for screenings of historic highlight films from the Sports Research Center's collection.  You are welcome to stay and discuss the films after watching.

    June 4: 1948 World Series: Cleveland Indians vs Boston Braves
    June 18: 1916-1958 Baseball Highlights with Buddy Blattner & 1952 Cleveland Indians
    July 2: 1954 World Series New York Giants vs. Cleveland Indians
    July 16: The All-Star Game: From Ruth to Mays
    August 6: 1944 Cleveland Rams vs Bears and Redskins & 1946-1955 "Ten Years with the Cleveland Browns"
    August 20: 1950 Cleveland Browns Season Highlights & 1955 Title Game: Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Rams

  • Event For young children under 6 years old
  • Cleveland Reads Summer Programming: Celebrating Our ABCs: Authenticity, Bravery, Creativity

    Main Library (Downtown), 4th Floor – Room 458 – Artlab
    Tuesday, June 18 | 1 pm

    Cleveland Reads all summer long. Don't miss weekly activities at your library. 
    Weeks 2 & 3: Authenticity     Read. Log. Win.     cpl.org/ClevelandReads2024

  • Excel Workshops III

    Main Library (Downtown), 2nd Floor – Conference C
    Thursday, June 20 | 11 am

    Acquire a robust foundation of Microsoft Excel know-how.

    Excel Workshops – First Workshop

    Familiarize yourself with the Excel Interface; select and format the appearance of data; and perform simple calculations.

    Excel Workshops – Second Workshop

    Use Excel to perform calculations on increasingly larger amounts of numerical data.

    Excel Workshops – Third Workshop

    Create versatile tables from spreadsheets; and turn raw data into visually interesting charts.

    Excel Workshops – Fourth Workshop

    Round out and refine your existing Excel know-how; and explore future areas of study and specialization.

    Excel Workshops – Supplemental Workshop

    Increase your productivity in Excel by taking advantage of various time-saving program features.

    Notes:

    It is not necessary to attend the Workshops in order.

    TechCentral will present the Supplemental Workshop if there is a fifth week in the month. You may request that Supplemental Workshop’s instructional material via one of the contact methods below.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact TechCentral at (216) 623-2980, Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM; or by email at tech.central@cpl.org.

  • Event For young children under 6 years old
  • The Book Box at Edgewater Park Beach

    Main Library (Downtown), Edgewater BookBox
    Thursday, June 20 | 12:30 pm

    What's better than a beach read?  A library at the beach stocked with great reads!  The Book Box at Edgewater Park offers books, DVDs, CDs, and other library materials. Enjoy your favorite finds at the beach. Or, tuck them away to enjoy them at home. You can even return items you've checked out from the library and sign up for a library card.

    The Book Box also hosts plenty of fun activities and crafts for kids (and the inner kid hiding inside most adults) along with special events and programs:

    Thursdays, June 13 through August 8 from 2 -4pm – Altered Book Art Workshops (registration required)
    Friday, June 14 – Trash Tote Day 
    Thursday, June 27 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.
    Thursday, July 11 from 12:30  – 2:30pm – Ideastream WVIZ
    Thursday, July 25 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.
    Thursday, August 8 from 12:30 – 3:30pm – WVIZ Ideastream
    Friday, August 16 – Trash Tote Day 
    Thursday, August 15 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.

     

  • Event For young children under 6 years old
  • Cleveland Reads Summer Programming: Celebrating Our ABCs: Authenticity, Bravery, Creativity

    Main Library (Downtown), 4th Floor – Room 458 – Artlab
    Thursday, June 20 | 1 pm

    Cleveland Reads all summer long. Don't miss weekly activities at your library. 
    Weeks 2 & 3: Authenticity     Read. Log. Win.     cpl.org/ClevelandReads2024

  • Event For young children under 6 years old
  • The Book Box at Edgewater Park Beach

    Main Library (Downtown), Edgewater BookBox
    Friday, June 21 | 12:30 pm

    What's better than a beach read?  A library at the beach stocked with great reads!  The Book Box at Edgewater Park offers books, DVDs, CDs, and other library materials. Enjoy your favorite finds at the beach. Or, tuck them away to enjoy them at home. You can even return items you've checked out from the library and sign up for a library card.

    The Book Box also hosts plenty of fun activities and crafts for kids (and the inner kid hiding inside most adults) along with special events and programs:

    Thursdays, June 13 through August 8 from 2 -4pm – Altered Book Art Workshops (registration required)
    Friday, June 14 – Trash Tote Day 
    Thursday, June 27 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.
    Thursday, July 11 from 12:30  – 2:30pm – Ideastream WVIZ
    Thursday, July 25 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.
    Thursday, August 8 from 12:30 – 3:30pm – WVIZ Ideastream
    Friday, August 16 – Trash Tote Day 
    Thursday, August 15 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.

     

  • Event For teens
  • Kaleidoscope Craft

    Main Library (Downtown), 4th Floor – Room 458 – Artlab
    Friday, June 21 | 2:30 pm

    Dive into the vibrant world of creativity with colored sand jars – where every jar becomes a masterpiece, and every pour tells a unique story!

  • Event For young children under 6 years old
  • The Book Box at Edgewater Park Beach

    Main Library (Downtown), Edgewater BookBox
    Saturday, June 22 | 12:30 pm

    What's better than a beach read?  A library at the beach stocked with great reads!  The Book Box at Edgewater Park offers books, DVDs, CDs, and other library materials. Enjoy your favorite finds at the beach. Or, tuck them away to enjoy them at home. You can even return items you've checked out from the library and sign up for a library card.

    The Book Box also hosts plenty of fun activities and crafts for kids (and the inner kid hiding inside most adults) along with special events and programs:

    Thursdays, June 13 through August 8 from 2 -4pm – Altered Book Art Workshops (registration required)
    Friday, June 14 – Trash Tote Day 
    Thursday, June 27 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.
    Thursday, July 11 from 12:30  – 2:30pm – Ideastream WVIZ
    Thursday, July 25 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.
    Thursday, August 8 from 12:30 – 3:30pm – WVIZ Ideastream
    Friday, August 16 – Trash Tote Day 
    Thursday, August 15 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.

     

  • Dungeons & Dragons for Kids

    Main Library (Downtown), 4th Floor – Room 458 – Artlab
    Saturday, June 22 | 2 pm

    Bring your friends or come make new ones at our beginner series of Dungeons and Dragons! Unleash your imagination and begin a whole new adventure!

  • Word Workshops IV

    Main Library (Downtown), 2nd Floor – Conference C
    Tuesday, June 25 | 11 am

    Become proficient in the everyday, academic, and work-related use of Microsoft Word.

    Word Workshops – First Workshop

    Become acquainted with the Word Interface; select and format the appearance of text.

    Word Workshops – Second Workshop

    Change the alignment of paragraphs of text; apply bullets or numbering to lists.

    Word Workshops – Third Workshop

    Refine tables and graphics.

    Word Workshops – Fourth Workshop

    Add headers, footers, and page numbers to a document; learn a variety of keyboard shortcuts that will save you time and energy when creating a Word document.

    Word Workshops – Supplemental Workshop

    An overview of more advanced Word skills, including: source citation; foot– and endnotes; and text styles.

    Notes:

    It is not necessary to attend the Workshops in order.

    TechCentral will present the Supplemental Workshop if there is a fifth week in the month. You may request that Supplemental Workshop’s instructional material via one of the contact methods below.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact TechCentral at (216) 623-2980, Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM; or by email at tech.central@cpl.org.

  • Event For young children under 6 years old
  • Cleveland Reads Summer Programming: Celebrating Our ABCs: Authenticity, Bravery, Creativity

    Main Library (Downtown), 4th Floor – Room 458 – Artlab
    Tuesday, June 25 | 1 pm

    Cleveland Reads all summer long. Don't miss weekly activities at your library. 
    Weeks 2 & 3: Authenticity     Read. Log. Win.     cpl.org/ClevelandReads2024

  • Event For all ages
  • How Does your Garden Grow?

    Main Library (Downtown), Eastman Reading Garden
    Wednesday, June 26 | 12 pm

    Explore the Seed Library and learn how you can get free vegetable and flower seeds while browsing a selection of titles from our extensive collection to inspire your future gardening adventures.  

  • Event For teens
  • Summer Scientists

    Main Library (Downtown), 4th Floor – Room 458 – Artlab
    Wednesday, June 26 | 2 pm

    Fun science experiments for kids encourage curiosity and help keep critical thinking skills sharp over the summer.

  • Excel Workshops IV

    Main Library (Downtown), 2nd Floor – Conference C
    Thursday, June 27 | 11 am

    Acquire a robust foundation of Microsoft Excel know-how.

    Excel Workshops – First Workshop

    Familiarize yourself with the Excel Interface; select and format the appearance of data; and perform simple calculations.

    Excel Workshops – Second Workshop

    Use Excel to perform calculations on increasingly larger amounts of numerical data.

    Excel Workshops – Third Workshop

    Create versatile tables from spreadsheets; and turn raw data into visually interesting charts.

    Excel Workshops – Fourth Workshop

    Round out and refine your existing Excel know-how; and explore future areas of study and specialization.

    Excel Workshops – Supplemental Workshop

    Increase your productivity in Excel by taking advantage of various time-saving program features.

    Notes:

    It is not necessary to attend the Workshops in order.

    TechCentral will present the Supplemental Workshop if there is a fifth week in the month. You may request that Supplemental Workshop’s instructional material via one of the contact methods below.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact TechCentral at (216) 623-2980, Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM; or by email at tech.central@cpl.org.

  • Event For young children under 6 years old
  • The Book Box at Edgewater Park Beach

    Main Library (Downtown), Edgewater BookBox
    Thursday, June 27 | 12:30 pm

    What's better than a beach read?  A library at the beach stocked with great reads!  The Book Box at Edgewater Park offers books, DVDs, CDs, and other library materials. Enjoy your favorite finds at the beach. Or, tuck them away to enjoy them at home. You can even return items you've checked out from the library and sign up for a library card.

    The Book Box also hosts plenty of fun activities and crafts for kids (and the inner kid hiding inside most adults) along with special events and programs:

    Thursdays, June 13 through August 8 from 2 -4pm – Altered Book Art Workshops (registration required)
    Friday, June 14 – Trash Tote Day 
    Thursday, June 27 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.
    Thursday, July 11 from 12:30  – 2:30pm – Ideastream WVIZ
    Thursday, July 25 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.
    Thursday, August 8 from 12:30 – 3:30pm – WVIZ Ideastream
    Friday, August 16 – Trash Tote Day 
    Thursday, August 15 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.

     

  • Event For young children under 6 years old
  • Cleveland Reads Summer Programming: Celebrating Our ABCs: Authenticity, Bravery, Creativity

    Main Library (Downtown), 4th Floor – Room 458 – Artlab
    Thursday, June 27 | 1 pm

    Cleveland Reads all summer long. Don't miss weekly activities at your library. 
    Weeks 2 & 3: Authenticity     Read. Log. Win.     cpl.org/ClevelandReads2024

  • Event For young children under 6 years old
  • The Book Box at Edgewater Park Beach

    Main Library (Downtown), Edgewater BookBox
    Friday, June 28 | 12:30 pm

    What's better than a beach read?  A library at the beach stocked with great reads!  The Book Box at Edgewater Park offers books, DVDs, CDs, and other library materials. Enjoy your favorite finds at the beach. Or, tuck them away to enjoy them at home. You can even return items you've checked out from the library and sign up for a library card.

    The Book Box also hosts plenty of fun activities and crafts for kids (and the inner kid hiding inside most adults) along with special events and programs:

    Thursdays, June 13 through August 8 from 2 -4pm – Altered Book Art Workshops (registration required)
    Friday, June 14 – Trash Tote Day 
    Thursday, June 27 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.
    Thursday, July 11 from 12:30  – 2:30pm – Ideastream WVIZ
    Thursday, July 25 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.
    Thursday, August 8 from 12:30 – 3:30pm – WVIZ Ideastream
    Friday, August 16 – Trash Tote Day 
    Thursday, August 15 the Book Box is open from 12:30 – 8pm during the Thursday Happy Hour Concert.

     

  • Event For adults
  • Scanning Family Memories

    Main Library (Downtown), 3rd Floor – Digital Hub – Classroom, 3rd Floor – Digital Hub – Scanning
    Saturday, June 29 | 11 am

    Come with your shoebox of memories and scan images from your family collection with help from expert staff. Learn the basics of scanning and sharing your photos. If you like, you may also share your pictures to our online collection of family albums, Cleveland Family Album.