Here’s What the Original Main Library of Cleveland Public Library Looked Like before 1925

​In 1924, when this photograph was taken, Main Library was located on the fifth and sixth floors of the Kinney & Levan Building on Euclid Avenue at East 14th Street. The building, built in 1913, was home to the Kinney & Levan Co., which was one of the largest home furnishings stores of its time; today it is occupied by the Idea Center at Playhouse Square. Like Main Library, the Kinney & Levan Building was designed by the Cleveland architectural firm Walker & Weeks.

Book display Title reads: Your Health ! Some Library books that will help you to keep well. Cleveland Public Library Books Information Service

Here’s a view of the Catalog Department in the Kinney & Levan Building in 1913, courtesy of the Digital Gallery:

1913 Catalog Department. Workers sitting at desks in a large room with shelves of books around the parameter.

Here’s a view of Librarian William Howard Brett (1864-1918) at work in his office in around 1914, courtesy of the Digital Gallery:

Here’s an image of the vast interior, with numerous patrons and tall bookshelves, from around 1915, courtesy of the Digital Gallery:

Long room filled with shelved books, along the sides and a filled with patrons sitting at desks reading

Finally, here is an image of a few staff members preparing for the Library’s move to Superior Avenue, taken in around 1925, courtesy of the Digital Gallery

an image of a three staff members preparing for the Library's move to Superior Avenue, taken in around 1925. Three men carrying large bins of books

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year from the Archives!