Top 10 Things to Do in Cleveland | Main Library Edition

No tour of Cleveland would be complete without a trip to Cleveland Public Library’s Main Campus. Whether you’re a tourist or a resident, visit Downtown to experience why Cleveland is home to one of the top-ranked libraries in the nation. Here’s a short list of things to do and see at Main Library.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Built for just less than $5 million, the Main Library opened to the public on May 6, 1925.
  • The cornerstone of Main Library contains a time capsule with documents relating to the construction of the Library and events that occurred in 1923.
  • The Terrestrial Globe light fixture in the lobby features a re-creation of a map by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Originally not a stick of wood was used in the Main Library except for the flagpole, due to a desire to make the building as fireproof as possible. It was all stone. Check out these highlights of Main Library.

TOP TEN THINGS TO SEE

Pam Eyerdam (blond haired woman) standing at a table, looking at large art prints in the Special Collections Department.

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

Peruse unique collections including Chess and Checkers, Miniature Books, Folklore, the Schweinfurth Collection, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. Special Collections is the home to the largest collection of chess literature in the world!

Main Library, 3rd Floor


The Superman Homecoming: The Heritage of Ohio’s Own Superhero

Glide through Superman comics, posters, toys, packaging, photographs, and more, some dating back to 1939! This collection was donated to the Library in 2016 by Mike Curtis, comic aficionado and writer for the Dick Tracy comic strip. The exhibit reveals new items every six months.

Main Library, 2nd Floor


International Languages

Delight in browsing through a collection of books and materials in forty-five languages.

Main Library, 4th Floor


Cleveland Digital Public Library

The Cleveland Digital Public Library helps patrons digitize their collections to keep and share the history of Cleveland, Northeast Ohio, and beyond. Main Library, 3rd Floor


Brett Memorial Hall – Exhibit Space

Stroll through the Botticino marble grand stair lobby to enter the grandest space within the Library. Named after William Howard Brett, third Director of Cleveland Public Library (1884-1918), Brett Memorial Hall’s marble ceiling, Travertine marble floor, and murals make it a perfect space for honoring today’s artists and storytellers.

Main Library, 1st Floor


Eastman Reading Garden

The Eastman Reading Garden, named after former Library Director Linda Anne Eastman (1918-1938), features seasonal art exhibits along with the work of artist Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


City Views

Ride the Louis Stokes Wing elevator up to the 10th Floor lobby for a breathtaking view of the city. Enjoy views of Public Square, Cleveland Browns Stadium, and the Fountain of Eternal Life, sculpted by Marshall Fredericks (1908-1998).

Louis Stokes Wing 10th Floor


Map Collection

Beginning with a donation of 122 maps by Library Trustee John G. White in 1884, the collection has grown to over 161,000 maps including charts, relief maps, atlases, and globes.

Louis Stokes Wing 6th Floor


Photograph Collection
Louis Stokes Wing

The Photographic Collection boasts 1.3 million photographs, primarily in black and white, and covers the 1850s through the 1980s. Louis Stokes Wing 4th Floor


TechCentral and MakerSpace

Dream and do in this creative and innovative learning environment! Bring ideas to life with services like 3D printing and scanning, vinyl and laser fabrication, plus audio and video production. Ask a staff member about computer and technology training.

Louis Stokes Wing Lower Level


BEFORE YOU GO!

Take home a souvenir of your visit to the 3rd largest public research library in the country! Visit our Gift Shop in the Louis Stokes Wing of Main Library to purchase Cleveland Public Library apparel, tote bags, mugs, and more! Your purchase supports Library programs and services.

HOURS: Hours Vary. Please call 216-623-2821 for additional information on hours for the gift shop.

LOCATION: Louis Stokes Wing, Indoor Reading Garden

Guided tours are available!

A knowledgeable staff member will happily guide you through a thorough tour of Main Library and the Louis Stokes Wing. Tours are limited to 5-10 guests (18 years and older).

Reservations should be made one month in advance, contact Outreach & Programming Services at
(216) 623-2921 or email ops@cpl.org to learn more and book.