Cleveland Public Library Main Building Phase 2 Renovation
Cleveland, Ohio

The Cleveland Public Library (CPL) Main Library is a campus of buildings made up of three parts: The Main Building, a historic Walker and Weeks design built in 1925; the Louis Stokes Wing (LSW), a Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer design completed in 1997; and the Eastman Reading Garden, an outdoor urban plaza between the two buildings designed by the Olin Group and rededicated in 1999 with public art including work by Maya Lin and Tom Otterness.

In 2010, a Main Library Consolidation master plan was prepared to identify space efficiencies while also planning to accommodate 21st century service demands. Proposed improvements were designed to be implemented in phases over time. Phase 1 was TechCentral, a new computer hub in the lower level of LSW completed in 2012. Phase 2 was initially planned in 2012 but deferred in favor of Phase 3, the Cleveland Digital Public Library on the 3rd Floor of the Main Building, completed in early 2015.

Phase 2 was completed and encompasses a larger footprint than previous phases. This phase elevates the ‘front-door’ visitor experience; leverages library space as venues for community use; creates collaborative learning spaces that support of emerging services; implements a comprehensive wayfinding system; and updates infrastructure to support the above goals.

Louis Stokes Wing First Floor

As the only accessible entrance, this is by default considered the Main Entrance to the Main Library. The entrance lobby benefits from new lighting, and the two ‘corner rooms’ flanking the entrance were repurposed as public spaces.

The southwest room includes an interactive interpretive environment highlighting the history of the Cleveland Public Library as an institution while also celebrating the legacy of the namesake Louis Stokes, as well as other luminaries named in the building. The southeast room was repurposed as a multipurpose public work zone, for community members doing project-based and technology driven work. This room may also be made available 24-7.

Along the tiled wall, the existing desks will be replaced with a concierge station in the south opening and relocated lending services to a new desk in the north opening. Functional upgrades were included on the ‘staff side’ of the wall in conjunction with a relocated security office just north of its previous location. The existing light fixtures were replaced throughout.

The north room has been transformed into an indoor urban reading room flanked by the north ‘corner rooms’ - a small café area and the relocated Friends’ Store. Existing light fixtures were replaced throughout.

Louis Stokes Wing 2nd Floor

This floor was completely re-imagined as an open, flexible space for learning, meeting and facilitating programs. The space accommodates facilitated and ad hoc and peer-to-peer learning, and except for the existing enclosed rooms on the north wall, and newly enclosed ‘corner rooms’ on the south, is reconfigurable to allow for large group meetings, author events and other types of gatherings. The existing lighting in the space was modified, HVAC for new meeting rooms was updated, new AV and sound systems were provided, and add new furniture installed throughout.


Brett Hall is the historic Main Building centerpiece enhanced as a venue for events such as conferences, meetings and weddings. The renovation included targeted finish upgrades, plus HVAC, electrical, lighting and technology improvements. Adjacent offices and storage were repurposed as event support spaces. The security desk just outside of Brett hall was replaced with a more permanent solution.

Library Lighting Controls

This project replaced malfunctioning and/or outdated equipment, providing a new master control system and graphic interface, updated breakers in lighting panels throughout both buildings, and re-wired the system to allow centralized and comprehensive lighting control campus-wide.