Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Beauty With Books

One of my favorite buildings ever is right here in my hometown: the Cleveland Public Library. I have loved libraries since I learned how to read; I remember receiving my library card was such a huge deal. And then when we could walk there alone (and sneak into the candy store on the way home), we just felt so important. I don't think I visited the main library downtown until I was out of college. Not sure why, although I suspect that many Clevelanders have never visited one of the city's true treasures.

"The 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."* 

The Cleveland Public Library's main branch was begun in 1923 and opened in 1925. Cleveland's City Beautiful movement conceived The Group Plan of 1903, when the city was attempting to design the downtown in an orderly way. An early example of urban planning, the plan designed a group of buildings to be built with similar design features and classical architectural motifs. 

 Main Library Branch with its 2 buildings on Superior Avenue

The Library's second building, the Louis Stokes Wing, was completed in 1997. The Eastman Reading Garden stands between the two buildings and is open in the warmer weather months, spring through fall.

Hidden roofline with its curves and patina 

Eastman Reading Garden (between the two buildings)

The interior of the building is just full of beautiful details at every turn. The marble, the carved wood, the leaded glass windows, the plaster moldings, the painted ceilings- all are there for the viewing. Overall, the library is maintained well. What I am not quite sure of is why more folks don't go there to visit. The Library's Fine Art Department is one of the best in the nation. I have never gone there and not found what I needed, however obscure. And if they don't have it, they'll find it for you. Their archives are to-die-for.

 Gorgeous door and window in the main floor's Brett Hall.

 Amazingly beautiful!

What a ceiling!

 Main floor

Main entrance ceiling

Looking up the marble stairwells

Brett Hall ceiling

The mural was created in 1934 as one of the Public Works of Art Projects, part of Roosevelt's New Deal.

My favorite room , the Special Collections Room, where displays change throughout the year. I love its simplicity, period feeling and beautiful display cases.

Tomorrow I will follow up with detail shots taken throughout the building. 
Please join me!



  1. Oh My Gosh! I love this! And you're in Cleveland, which pretty much rocks. I used to go engineer-hunting at Case Western on occasion.

  2. What a beautiful library! Sad that they don't build them like that anymore. My library is nondescript 50's style, but still I love it, just got to love a library for what it does!

  3. Gorgeous ! I think I would find plenty of excuses to visit there often :)



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