From Humble Beginnings

It all started right here. On February 17, 1869, Cleveland Public Library officially opened on the third floor of the Northrup and Harrington Block on West 3rd Street and Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland. The first two floors were occupied by the Hower and Higbee department store. (In this photo, Public Square can be seen in the background on the…

ALA War Service

Room of soldiers at a desk reading

Cleveland Public Library’s motto of “Books, Information, Service” was particularly fitting as the Library was very much engaged in the war effort over the years, providing books to our service members and even sending library staff to serve overseas. During WWI, the United States government asked the American Library Association to set up libraries for troops in 32 military camps.…

William Fitch Smyth

Envelope with drawing of an alegator and stick figure people and the words Shelf Division

William Fitch Smyth was the evening attendant in the General Reference Division at Cleveland Public Library beginning January 22, 1904. Mr. Smyth was recruited to work at the library by none other than William H. Brett, Head Librarian. His starting salary was .50 cents per evening. Mr. Smyth worked part-time, including Sundays and holidays until March 22, 1940. His father…

The Cutting Edge of Library Technology

Library’s Telautograph machine

Enjoy a slideshow through time and watch the evolution of Cleveland Public Library’s cutting edge use of technology. From typewritten cataloging and “high-tech” electric erasers at the beginning of the 20th Century to the first computerized online Library Catalog in the 1980s. [slideshow_deploy id=’11603′]