Main Library

Main Library CampusMain Library

325 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114

Louis Stokes Wing

525 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114

Phone: 216.623.2800
Fax: 216.623.7015
Manager: Robin Wood (Senior Director of Public Services – Main Library)

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

Library Hours

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

Drive-Up Window

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

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).


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

  • Wee Read and Play Storytime (ages 18 months to 3 years)

    Main Library (Downtown), 4th Floor – Room 477 – Storytime Room
    Wednesday, November 24 | 10 am

    Continue to develop your toddler’s language and social skills. Toddlers from 18 months to 3 years of age and their favorite adult are invited for stories, active songs, rhymes and time for play! Open to all ages, recommended for toddlers from 18 months to 3 years.

  • Preschool Story Time (ages 3 – 5)

    Main Library (Downtown), 4th Floor – Room 477 – Storytime Room
    Tuesday, November 30 | 10 am

    Story times for preschoolers ages 3 to 5 include stories, songs, activities, and rhymes specially designed to support reading readiness and foster the social and emotional skills that kids need to succeed as they enter Kindergarten.

  • Computer Basics

    Online Event presented by Main Library – Downtown
    Friday, December 03 | 11 am

    This program is tentatively scheduled to be held in person. Masks are required. If you have any questions, please contact the TechCentral department at 216-623-2980 Mon- Sat 10:00am-6:00pm. This program has a capacity limit of 5.  


    Computer Basics: The Mouse and Keyboard

    Learn all mouse and keyboard techniques by completing a wide variety of meaningful, everyday computer tasks. Begin class learning how best to hold the mouse; leave class being well on your way to clicking and typing with speed and confidence.


    Computer Basics: A Beginner's Introduction

    This class teaches the student commonly used Personal Computer functions ranging from how to turn the computer on and off, up to navigating the windows operating system. It also explains how to start basic windows programs such as Word, Paint, and a Web Browser.


    Computer Basics: Organizing Files

    Can't keep track of your files? Take this class and we'll teach you best practices for saving and finding files to help you organize your computer.

  • “Jumpstart Your Creativity” Workshop with Author Nancy Christie

    Main Library (Downtown), 2nd Floor – Literature Department
    Saturday, December 04 | 1 pm

    Now that National Novel Writing Month is officially over, let's keep writing! This workshop "will help you rev up your inspiration engine so you can continue on our writing journey!" Presented by the award-winning author of Rut-Busting Book for Writers and Rut-Busting Book for Authors, attendees will learn tips to break through barriers that block writing so that they can stay on their creative path.

  • Resume Workshop

    Online Event presented by Main Library – Downtown
    Monday, December 06 | 3 pm

    This program is tentatively scheduled to be held in person. Masks are required. If you have any questions, please contact the TechCentral department at 216-623-2980 Mon- Sat 10:00am-6:00pm. This program has a capacity limit of 5.

    Need a resume? Have a resume that needs updating? Learn how to create a resume or improve your existing resume during this workshop. Beginners and experienced resume writers are welcome.

  • Lunchtime Knitting Circle

    Public Administration Library
    Wednesday, December 08 | 12 pm

    Please join us for our monthly meetings inside Public Administration Library, Room 100, City Hall.  This knitting group is in association with Warm Up Cleveland.  Knitters and crocheters of every skill level are welcome.  To enquire about joining, please stop by the branch or call 216-623-2919.  Seating is spaced for safety.

  • Job Searching Online

    Online Event presented by Main Library – Downtown
    Wednesday, December 08 | 3 pm

    This program is tentatively scheduled to be held in person. If you have any questions, please contact the TechCentral department at 216-623-2980 Mon- Sat 10:00am-6:00pm. This program has a capacity limit of 5.

    Are you interested in finding a new job or upgrading your career? Join this workshop and learn techniques to improve your chances of online job searching success.


    Registration is required.